FECAFOOT ELECTIONS: Can we actually see “The Return of Joel Matip to the Cameroon National Team” ahead of AFCON 2021 as Samuel Eto’o is been elected President of FECAFOOT?
Yesterday the 11th of December 2021 was one very memorable day for Cameroonian football lovers as the “People’s Choice – Samuel Eto’o” was elected President of Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT). There was jubilation every where most especially in Yaounde (Capaital City) and Douala (Administrative Capital).
The 5 times AFCON winner and African giant has been raised below par both locally and international in all football related activities in more than a decade today. The FECAFOOT office in more than a decade has been tainted with corruption, embezzlement, mismanagement and disrespect to players and staffs.
This has been the main reason why Liverpool defender Joel Matip has been turning down a return to the Cameroon National team when when last called in August 2021.
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Joel Matip it should be noted that last featured for the indomitable lions in 2015 and since then despite not featuring for Cameroon again has not yet called an end to his international career.
Cameroon coach, Antonio Conceicao who took over the office in 2019 from the underperforming and former Dutch and AC Milan legend Clarence Seedorf in an interview in August 2021 ahead of their clash against Malawi in the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers said that he [Conceicao] sent an invitation to return to the national team to every active Cameroonian football including Joel Matip to which Joel Matip turned down.
“The situation of Matip is not new. 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”, Antonio Conceicao said.
In 2016, Joel Matip made up his mind to leave the national team owing to mismanagement amongst officials as well as bad experience with the coaching staff most especially the lack of game time. It was due to these reasons that Joel Matip tuned down a called up to represent Cameroon in the Gabon 2017 AFCON which Cameroon eventually won despite being named in the squad.
It should be noted that 9 players (including Indomitable Lions captain Choupo Moting, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Allan Nyom and goalkeeper Andre Onana) in total when called upon by former coach Hugo Broos turned down the called for the same reasons as Joel Matip.
JUST CHOUPO MOTING: ‘I know why Joel Matip has every reason not to make Cameroon return’
In an interview in 2020 with Radio Sport Info, Eric Choupo Moting’s father, Just Choupo-Moting said he understands why Joel Matip has every reason to not return to the National team.
According to Just Choupo, the main reason was the club versus country thug of war. This war happened at a time when CAF had decided that AFCON tournaments should be held in January, which means that footballers playing in Europe will have to take a break from club football to catch up with national activities.
Because some of the players were not ready to let down their clubs who pay the majority of their weekly wages coupled with mismanagement and bad experience from the national team staff such as lack of game time and many other reasons, this saw 9 players enlisted in the AFCON 2017 squad never showing up.
According to Just Choupo, the situation even got worse when Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) riled by the players’ snub, asked that FIFA and the respective clubs punish the players.
“I understand it 100 percent [Joel Matip’s decision to quit Cameroon] without condoning it. Because if I endorsed it, even my son wouldn’t be playing for the national team,” Just Choupo-Moting told Radio Sport Info.
“Fortunately, my son was immersed in the local football environment very early on. And until today I accompany him everywhere and everyone knows me. Once, Samuel Eto’o told me all his admiration for seeing me at all the matches and training sessions.
“Coming back to Joel, he has every reason not to return to the selection. Do you know that Fecafoot under the Tombi [A Roko Sidiki, ex-Fecafoot president] era, following the decision of Choupo, Onana, Matip and a few others not to play Afcon 2017, wanted to suspend these players in their professional clubs?”
“This attitude of Fecafoot frustrated and frightened several players like Matip who decided to no longer come to the Cameroon national team,” said Choupo-Moting who acts as a player agent for his son Eric and is also close to Matip’s father Jean.
“This Fecafoot complaint was the last straw because Matip was already very angry that he was not played fairly when he came to Cameroon. I remember fighting a lot so that this complaint did not end up at Schalke or Eric quitting at that time.”
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Following Antonio Conceicao’s August 2021 invitation, in a press interview in Liverpool, Joel Matip was asked if he will ever represent Cameroon again.
Joel Matip: “No. I tried to play there and represent my country, do my best and achieve something but all the surrounding things were not the best to do this.
It is Africa and you can never compare it to European things. I’ll concentrate on Liverpool. It’s done”, Matip added
Now that Samuel Eto’o – ‘The People’s Choice’ has taken over the office, and considering how much love and respect Samuel Eto’o has for players and the fans, and considering Cameroon football fans are already requesting the return of Joel Matip, can President Samuel Eto’o work miracles to convince the Cameroon defender and Liverpool’s Iron brick to return to the indomitable Lions’ dent before the AFCON?
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