Andre Onana unexpectedly left the Cameroon camp at the World Cup in Qatar after coming to blows with coach Rigobert Song.
The 26-year-old Inter goalkeeper played the full 90 minutes of Cameroon’s opening clash against Switzerland, putting in a decent performance despite the 1-0 defeat. A notable part of his work in that game was his confidence on the ball; in the World Cup opener, Onana took 61 touches of the ball, 24 of which came outside his penalty area.
La Gazzetta dello Sport details how things went wrong during a Cameroon training session on Saturday last week, when coach Song told Onana that “this is not Ajax”, clearly referring to his proactive play on the ball.
The Inter shot stopper was unimpressed by this and after a brief argument, told the Cameroon coach to let someone else play in his place. He then skipped the pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Serbia, further widening the rift between player and coach.
Rumours from Cameroon suggest that Onana criticised teammate Nicolas Nkoulou in the team’s WhatsApp group, making it clear that he preferred other defenders who were capable of holding a high line and playing with the ball at their feet.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper has disputed this claim, but that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill. The president of the Cameroonian FA, Samuel Eto’o, attempted to mediate the situation before eventually informing Onana of his exclusion from the Serbia clash.
Song publicly stated that Onana could have continued at the World Cup should he change his attitude and ‘respect the rules’, but the Inter goalkeeper decided to cut his losses and left Qatar earlier today.