André Onana’s palaver surrounding his appearance for Cameroon at this year’s AFCON tournament has been nothing short of a mess.
Those who were called up for their countries to the 2024 AFCON tournament were meant to leave their respective domestic clubs at the beginning of January.
For Manchester United, this was André Onana and Sofyan Amrabat, who were called up to Cameroon and Morocco, respectively.
However, this is when Onana’s story becomes complicated – after Cameroon and United agreed that the goalkeeper would stay around for the club’s FA Cup fixture against Wigan Athletic on 8 January, he was also granted the ability to stay and play against Tottenham on 14 January, too.
Onana then attempted to travel to the Ivory Coast to play for Cameroon on 15 January, but delayed transport stopped him, and after he started in a 3-1 loss against Senegal, he was then dropped again.
Onana was benched against Gambia by a player playing in the third tier of French football as his country won 3-2 in the final moments.
The whole situation has benefited no one, and Onana should not have been allowed the ability to choose both club and country – he should have been made to pick one.
Onana’s decision to play for United and sacrifice training time with his countrymen no double affected his performance against Senegal, which in turn caused him to be dropped from the side against Gambia.
With Onana having mixed performances so far during his time at United, the last thing either the Cameroon FA or the club should be doing is allowing the player to fall into an unstable environment, even if it was his choice.
While Onana should know better than to make rash decisions and try to please all parties, United should manage their players and make executive decisions, even if they can’t please anyone.
While Ten Hag clearly relies on Onana, it should not have been absolutely essential that he plays against Wigan and Tottenham – otherwise, it must be asked, why did the club sign Altay Bayındır on a five-year deal?
With INEOS coming in, these decisions should be made more quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
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