By Angu Lesley
Rigobert Song Bahanag has pulled off a first major feat as head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. The trainer currently on a talent search in Europe has obtained the confirmation of the return of experienced Liverpool defender Joel Djob Matip, kick442.com can report.
The 30-year old Liverpool center-back who hasn’t played for Cameroon since after his 27th cap won during the 2014 FIFA World cup tournament has been touched by talks between his father, himself and the technical staff of the team.
According to our findings, Matip will thus end an eight years exile from International football by returning to the den for the home and away final FIFA World cup qualifiers games against the Desert Foxes of Algeria.
Song led a delegation of Cameroon football officials at a meeting in the home of Jean Matip (Joel’s father) in Düsseldorf on Wednesday evening as they tried to convince the ex footballer to get his son back on board. The Cameroon team later moved to England on Thursday morning and had a meeting with Joel Matip which ended on a positive note.
The Liverpool defender, 29 last featured for Cameroon during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, against the host in a game in which he scored Cameroon’s lone goal in the tournament in a 1-4 defeat.
Since then, attempts by coach Hugo Broos, Clarence Seedorf and recently by António Conceiçao to get the player on board yielded no fruits.
As his father previously recommended during an interview in December, Song and his crew left Düsseldorf and went to England to meet Matip one-on-one basis. This second meeting has done the trick and Matip could be lining up against Algeria in 20 days at Japoma.
In January 2017, Matip was selected for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations by the then Cameroon coach Hugo Broos in what has been the closes move related to having him back, but he rejected the call up.
Joel Matip, winner of the 2020 UEFA champions league crown with Liverpool will certainly be a big addition to the Cameroon backline that already has Michael Ngadeu, Jean-Charles Castelletto, Jean Claude Billong and Harold Moukoudi.
Two sons of Jean Matip, Joel and Marvin Matip, have played for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, while Joel Matip counts 27 caps and one goal between 2010 to 2015 Marvin only represented his country five times.
Matip was born to a German mother and his father Jean Matip, is a former footballer and Cameroonian, just like his Cousin Joseph-Désiré Job who won the AFCON with Cameroon in 2000.
Should Matip feature against Algeria and the Lions qualify for the World cup, the defender will appear at a third FIFA World cup tournament later this year in Qatar, following the 2010 and 2014 participations in South Africa and Brazil respectively.
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