Liverpool’s defender Joel Matip has turned down an invitation to resume his international career with Cameroon, Indomitable Lions coach Toni Conceicao has said.
Conceicao revealed that he had extended an invitation to all active Cameroon players who had previously declared themselves unavailable for selection when he took over as the new team boss.
Speaking at a press conference naming his 28-man squad for the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Malawi, Conceicao said he told all the players “the doors were open” – including Matip, who last played for Cameroon in 2015.
“The situation of Matip is not new,” he said.
“There are players who wanted to come back to the national team. For me there is no need to enlist a player who is not ready to return.
“Matip does not want to return to the national team, that is the issue”.
Matip decided to stay away from the team in 2016, citing mismanagement issues and bad experiences with the coaching staff.
Although named in the team’s squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, he did not travel and it was only at this point in time that his retirement from international football was revealed.
Another player whose return is controversial is goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa who last played for FC Ostende in the 2018/2020 season.
“Ondoa is a good player but for the past two years has been without a good club, and does not have enough play time” the coach insisted.
The option of using Ondoa had to be explored as Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is unavailable until November, when a nine-month ban for use of an illegal substance expires.