By Angu Lesley
Rigobert Song Bahanag – head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon has given fresh hopes on the chances of Joel Matip featuring for Cameroon, four months to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The trainer who embarked on a talent search in Europe weeks after his appointment has given more details about his conversation with the Liverpool defender in relations to bringing the 30-year old back to the Lions den.
The center-back who hasn’t played for Cameroon since after his 27th cap won during the 2014 FIFA World cup tournament has told Song to accord him more thinking time.
“Talking about Matip, our wish is to see him again in Lions colors. But the decision is the player’s,” Song is quoted on FECAFOOT’s monthly magazine -CORNER.
In March before the FIFA World cup playoffs games against Algeria, Song led a delegation of Cameroon football officials at a meeting in the home of Jean Matip (Joel’s father) in Düsseldorf as they tried to convince the ex footballer to get his son back on board. The Cameroon team later moved to England and had a meeting with Joel Matip.
“He has asked for time before making a final decision. I am still waiting though we really don’t have time. At some point in time he needs to take a decision because we are in an emergency situation.”
A U-turn from Matip will thus end an eight years exile from International football and give room for him to feature at his third FIFA World Cup tournament. Should that happen, Matip will become the first Cameroonian footballer to feature at the global soccer jamboree on three occasions without featuring at the AFCON or any other international tournament.
The Liverpool defender, 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.
Should the 2022 UEFA Champions League finalist and recent winner of the FA cup, Matip decide to come, it will be a big addition to the Cameroon backline that already has Michael Ngadeu, Jean-Charles Castelletto and Harold Moukoudi among others.
Two sons of Jean Matip, Joel and Marvin Matip, have played for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, while Joel Matip counts more caps and one goal between 2010 to 2015, Marvin only represented his country five times.
Joel 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.
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