TEARS as ONANA left Manchester UNITED this morning after just 1 year in OLD TRAFFORD- Hear what Eric Ten Hag said

TEARS as ONANA left Manchester UNITED this morning after just 1 year in OLD TRAFFORD- Hear what Eric Ten Hag said



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Home » Andre Onana reveals his difficulties with leaving Manchester United

Andre Onana reveals his difficulties with leaving Manchester United

written by Darragh Fox 01/17/2024

Andre Onana


Andre Onana has described the decision to leave Manchester United to represent Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations as “choosing between my father and my mother.”



When the goalkeeper agreed to relocate to Manchester from Milan in the summer, he had assured his new employers he would not be taking part in the mid-season tournament as he had retired from international duty.


Onana had left the Cameroonian camp during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar following a fierce dispute with Rigobert Song, the manager of the Indomitable Lions. The pair disagreed over Onana’s preference to take risks when playing out from the back, as he has become famed for at club level, but Song believed there was no place for it on the international stage.


This sequence of events drove Onana’s retirement last year.










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The 27-year-old agreed to reverse this decision, however, after receiving pressure from the Cameroonian President and Football Federation (FECAFOOT). They wanted the country’s biggest star to be a part of the squad for the esteemed tournament in the Ivory Coast.


Onana agreed to don the Cameroonian shirt once again for the pivotal qualifier against Burundi – a game which saw the Indomitable Lions run out three-nil winners and confirm their place at Afcon. The goalkeeper was acutely aware of the promise he had made United officials during the summer, however.


As such, he strove to reach an agreement with FECAFOOT which would see him delay his meet-up with the rest of the Cameroonian squad until the last moment, thus allowing Onana to play for his club in the key match against Tottenham Hotspur. The Federation agreed.



United played Spurs on January 14th while Cameroon began their tournament against Guinea on January 15th. The goalkeeper flew directly to the Ivory Coast immediately after the Spurs game in the ambitious hope of representing his country less than twenty-four hours later. It proved an unfeasible feat.


While the remainder of the Cameroonian squad had already been together for a week during the country’s pre-tournament training camp in Saudi Arabia, Onana reported for duty at 4am on Monday morning after his flight had been severely delayed due to bad weather. The 27-year-old was forced to land at a different airport, a three hour drive from his original destination.


As a result, Onana was not included in the squad for the opening game. A decision which required El Hadji Diouf (former Liverpool and Senegal player) of all people to calm the goalkeeper down, such was his anger at the decision. His cousin – Fabrice Ondoa – was instead selected in goal.


Song explained why he had left Onana out, tacitly criticising these unusual travel plans in the process. “No, Andre [Onana], we all know that [he wouldn’t play],” said Song on beIN Sports. “We need to stick to our logic. He arrived at 4am, how do you expect him to play at 5pm?” Song was quick to emphasise he had no issue with Onana, however, and reiterated the goalkeeper was “part of the group.”


Despite the Cameroonian Federation having originally supported Onana’s plans, there are thought to be individual members of FECAFOOT who disapprove of his choice.


Sebastien Bassong (formerly of Spurs and Cameroon) even described Onana’s plan as “disrespectful” to his country. “It’s out of order from both sides,” Bassong told the BBC. “It’s a low from Onana to even consider it. It sends such a bad message, not only for Cameroon, but for the respect people will have for the Africa Cup of Nations and for the way they should treat us, the equality.”


“I like Andre, I’ll always have his back when I have to, but when things like that happen, the nation, the pride of the country and the continent is way above an individual person. For me, he should stay home and be punished.”


Onana spoke after the match to Canal Plus in response to these critiques: “I have a lot to say but I will not say it here because we are in competition.” He described the “sacred union” of the Cameroonian squad as the most important thing to him and underscored the honour he felt at representing his country.


“Let me continue to be criticised, I am used to it,” Onana said. “I do what is good for my country. It’s like choosing between my father and my mother, but my country comes first, that’s why I’m here. We are together. We are here to win [the tournament].”


United fans may be curious as to whether their team is the father or the mother in this metaphor but Onana’s commitment to his new club has to be admired. They would also be forgiven for deeming the goalkeeper’s travel plans to be as chaotic as his performances in a Red Devils shirt.


If Cameroon were to progress to the Afcon final, the 27-year-old may miss up to four games for United. If the Indomitable Lions were eliminated during the group stage, Onana’s late departure from Manchester means he would not miss a single game.


If Gareth Bale was governed by the mantra of ‘Wales, Golf, Madrid – in that order,’ Onana appears to abide by ‘Chaos, United, Cameroon – in that order.’

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Darragh is a writer for The Peoples Person who spent three years as a history graduate slowly realising football was by far the most interesting thing to write about.



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