Cameroon coach Rigobert Song has said goalkeeper Andre Onana asked not to play his second group game at the World Cup amid reports of a falling out between the two men at the stadium. Qatar.
Inter Milan goalkeeper Onana started for the Indomitable Lions in their Group G opener against Switzerland, a 1-0 defeat, but he was replaced by Devis Epassy for Monday’s 3-3 draw against Serbia.
He was not among the substitutes.
There have been reports that the 26-year-old has been taken down for disciplinary reasons, but no details have been released by the country’s football federation.
“He’s an important player, but we’re in a tough tournament,” Song said.
“I know what I have to do, which is to make sure that the team takes precedence over the individuals.
“André wanted out and we accepted this position. In a team, discipline is important.”
Onana has started all of Cameroon’s games this year, having served a nine-month doping ban last year.
Asked by AFP news agency if he would start Cameroon’s final match, Onana’s substitute Devis Epassy said “you’ll have to ask the coach” and insisted he didn’t. there was no problem in the camp.
Indomitable Lions ‘show their DNA’ with upcoming Brazil test
Cameroon fought back from 3-1 down to grab a point and keep their hopes of advancing to the last 16 alive.
Substitute Vincent Aboubakar played a pivotal role in their comeback, beating the offside trap to bring home a goal in stunning fashion with a lobbed before setting up the equalizer three minutes later.
The result also ended an unwanted record for Cameroon of eight consecutive World Cup defeats, a streak dating back to the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.
“In these competitions, you have to show the desire to win,” said Aboubakar.
“My teammates played a great first half despite some small mistakes. We felt they [Serbia] were shaking and a little tired. When I arrived I tried to enjoy it as much as possible.
“[The] The most important [thing] is to bring joy to the Cameroonian people. What matters is the state of mind and the collective spirit, and in that respect we played a great game.”
A point from two games means the Central Africans will have to beat five-time defending champions Brazil in their final group game on Friday (1900 GMT) to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages.
Former Liverpool defender Song said his side’s spirited second-half performance against Serbia was ‘part of our DNA as Cameroonian footballers’ and believes they can create an upset against the South Americans .
“What was important was showing that fighting spirit and determination,” the 46-year-old added.
“We reacted as best we could. [at 3-1 down] to resume the game. We are progressing and improving.
“It’s possible to beat Brazil. We believe in ourselves, we didn’t come here to go through the stages. Cameroon still have a contribution to make to this tournament.”