Joel Matip’s fate was decided by the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) when they didn’t name him in their 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool players are never far from controversy and Joel Matip is a perfect example of this, although his intentions were strictly professional. The former Schalke man refused a call-up to Cameroon’s squad to take part in 2017’s Africa Cup of Nations taking place in Gabon. His decision to reject the call-up, and his decision to exile himself from international football since 2015, was based on the fact that Cameroon’s national team setup is very unorganised.
National boss Hugo Broos did not take kindly to being snubbed and there were reports that Matip would, along with several other players, be banned by FIFA for the duration of the tournament. The reports angered many supporters claiming that call-ups to the national team aren’t meant to be similar to conscription and that there is an element of hypocrisy in allowing a player to retire from international football at the age of 30 without any issues.
There are a number of differences, but all the same, Fecafoot’s reported intent to take disciplinary action did not go down well with a large portion of the Liverpool fanbase.
Fecafoot, however, named their squad for the AFCON and Matip was a very distinct omission. The 25-year-old is now free to play for Liverpool when he returns from injury and it would seem that he will be fit to play Manchester United in the Premier League on the 15th of January.
Matip has cemented his place at Liverpool and despite some very good football from Ragnar Klavan, the Cameroonian is expected to return to the starting lineup the moment he is fit.