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AFCON: Man United, Cameroon agree to keep Onana at Old Trafford until Tottenham clash

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Manchester United reached a cordial agreement with Federation of Cameroon Football to keep goalkeeper Andre Onana until the day before their AFCON kickoff.

Manchester United’s goalkeeper, Andre Onana, is set for a quick departure to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) a day after the team’s encounter with Tottenham Hotspur on January 14. This move comes after a cordial agreement among all involved parties.

Onana, the 27-year-old Cameroon international, will now have the opportunity to feature in United’s FA Cup third-round tie against Wigan Athletic prior to their game against Spurs at Old Trafford.

According to the Athletic, there’s a mutual understanding and respect between Manchester United and the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) regarding Onana’s situation.

Initially signed from Inter Milan last July under the impression that he had retired from national team duty, Onana was later convinced to rejoin the national team.

United respects Onana’s decision, influenced by his sense of national pride and patriotism, acknowledging the difficult balance between club and country loyalty.

FECAFOOT, on their part, recognises United’s challenge in losing Onana during a crucial part of the season. They are reluctant to see his participation in the AFCON affect his performance in England’s top-tier football. Therefore, they sought a compromise to maximise Onana’s playtime for both club and country.

The outcome of Cameroon’s performance in the AFCON could directly impact Manchester United’s squad rotation. If Cameroon, who are in a group with Senegal and Gambia, does not progress beyond the group stage, Onana might not miss any matches for United. Their final group game is on January 23, just before United’s potential FA Cup fourth-round match.

Should Cameroon advance further in the tournament, United will have to navigate their upcoming fixtures without Onana. Their next Premier League game is against Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 1, followed by matches against West Ham United and Aston Villa. These coincide with the later stages of AFCON, including the final on February 11.

United’s manager, Erik ten Hag, has expressed confidence in their backup goalkeepers, Altay Bayindir, a summer signing from Fenerbahce, and Tom Heaton, as viable options during Onana’s absence

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