Hugo Broos, manager for Cameroon, claims that Liverpool defender Joël Matip has repeatedly refused to represent Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions have qualified to play in the 2017 African Cup of Nations, but Matip appears to want no part of it. In fact, the 25-year-old has turned down the opportunity to play for his country for the past year, including not answering messages left by the manager regarding the team's two friendlies against Gabon and Gambia over this international break.
Regarding the situation, Broos said, "There are players who never wanted to come and play these games. They have their reasons but it also shows that if these people are not there it’s a good thing. It means they do not have the necessary will.
"I refer in particular to the Matip brothers. For Joël, I called him 15 times and I even sent him messages but he never responded. Marvin preferred to stay with his club. The ball is in their court. If they want to come play with Cameroon they should call me and say: ‘I am ready’."
The inconvenient scheduling of the African Cup of Nations surely plays a major part in the reluctance by players to join their home nations. Coming as it does in January and February -- a hectic and important time in the club season calendar -- means missing key games, including the knockout rounds of cup competitions.
This confirmation from Broos that Matip intends to forego AFCoN sheds new light on Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp's decision to force center-back Mamadou Sakho out on loan. A major criticism of this decision was how short this could potentially make the team's defense in that busy winter period without Matip available. However, if the player is refusing to represent his country, then Klopp has his services throughout that time after all, barring injury or suspension.
This still won't justify shipping out Sakho for some fans, but it will provide some relief if and when Sakho leaves.