Cameroon have made it into final of the African Cup of Nations, despite being without eight of their best players who refused international call-ups.
Joel Matip, Liverpool’s best centre-back, was one of them – but while we’ve got the defender available after FIFA finally granted eligibility – Cameroon have done incredibly well without him.
Most would assume Cameroon would exile these eight, considering their success, but manager Hugo Broos has left the door open, provided they choose to walk through it.
“They still have a future, but the decision is now with them,” he said after the semi-final win over Ghana, reported in the Echo.
“I will not phone them and ask them if they will come. They have to phone me to say “I’m ready to play for Cameroon”.
“And not only for one game. Because when they come, they stay. It’s not today I come and the next they go. So it’s they come for it all or they are definitely not coming.”
Matip though has retired from Cameroon duty and won’t play for his country of birth again, in our opinion.
The defender lived in Germany since he was three-years-old, so is a very much an adopted European and less connected/patriotic to Cameroon as a result.
This means in the future, during international breaks, we’ll have the 26-year-old at Melwood, working closely with Jurgen Klopp – instead of playing fixtures in Africa.
This will be only be beneficial for Liverpool in the long run.
Matip’s been our best centre-back this term and although he was shaky against Chelsea, he’s the future of our backline and the likes of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren will be competing to play alongside him.