Much has been made of Liverpool FC’s African contingent missing games in January due to the African Cup of Nations. Whatever happens, it is certain that Joel Matip will not be participating in that tournament. The defender’s status was brought up at a press conference by Cameroon manager Toni Conceicao. He revealed that he extended an invitation for all active Cameroon players back to the international setup who had previously announced themselves as unavailable when he took over as boss in 2019.
However, Joel Matip, who has not represented his country since 2015, will not be one of them.
“The situation of Matip is not new. There are players who wanted to come back to the national team. For me there is no need to enlist a player who is not ready to return. Matip does not want to return to the national team, that is the issue.”
Matip retired from international football back in 2016, citing mismanagement issues and bad experiences with former coaching staff at international level. Speaking in 2017, he seemed set on leaving the international game behind for good:
“It’s done now and I’m looking to the future. I only wanted to stay here and play. It was not easy because I didn’t understand what was going on. Now the problem is solved and I can concentrate on Liverpool.
[when asked if he would ever play for Cameroon again] No. I tried to play there and represent my country, do my best and achieve something but all the surrounding things were not the best to do this.
It is Africa and you can never compare it to European things. I’ll concentrate on Liverpool. It’s done.”
Good on Joel for sticking to his guns.