Manchester United splashed out on a private jet to fly Andre Onana to the Africa Cup of Nations, but the goalkeeper still missed Cameroon’s opener.
Onana was absent for Monday’s draw with Guinea despite United spending at least $100,000 (£79,000) on a private jet to fly the goalkeeper to Ivory Coast at the latest possible moment, according to The Athletic. The stopper flew out after the Premier League draw with Tottenham and was expected to play in Cameroon’s opener, but ended up being left out.
Onana was left fuming by his omission after arriving in time for the game despite his flight being diverted. “If I wasn’t going to play or make the team, then why did I come here on a private jet?” he asked El Hadji Diouf.
It’s still not completely clear why Onana was left out of the match. The goalkeeper was always due to arrive late to the competition after an agreement was struck for him to play against Spurs. Onana’s flight was then diverted from the capital Yamoussoukro, where the game was played, and ended up landing in Abidjan. That was supposedly due to fog, which meant he completed his journey by car. He arrived five hours before kick-off but was then left out of the team for the match, which Cameroon drew 1-1. Onana has since been accused of “disrespecting” Cameroon by arriving late by former Arsenal and Man City striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
Onana spoke to Canal TV about the criticism, saying: “I have a lot of things to say, but I won’t say it here because we are in competition. The most important thing is sacred union. We are here to win AFCON 2023.
“I am one of the leaders so I take my responsibilities and that is why I am here,” he continued. “I don’t want people to criticise the youngest. Let people continue to criticise me — I’m used to it, I do what is good for my country.
“It’s like choosing between my father and my mother, but my country comes first, that’s why I’m here. We’re together.”
Amid all the drama, it’s entirely possible Onana could be flying back to Manchester very soon. Cameroon followed up their draw with Guinea with a defeat against Senegal. Onana was guilty of making another high-profile error in the loss, and the result leaves the Indomitable Lions needing a win in their final group game against Gambia to progress