Liverpool defender Joël Matip has already ruled himself out from participating for Cameroon at the 2017 AFCON and has told manager Jürgen Klopp that he will remain at the club in the new year. However, the future could see him back representing his country.
The 25-year-old, German-born defender chose to represent the nation of his father when they called on him at just 18 years of age, but despite playing for them at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup, he has often chosen to opt out of international duty.
According to Cameroon manager Hugo Broos, the player has in the past considered the national team to be poorly run. However, after a number of recent reforms, he is hopeful of convincing Matip to once again line up for Cameroon in the future.
“When I took over as coach I went to see him in Gelsenkirchen and ask him to return to the team,” Broos told Voetbal Magazine. “He said to me, ‘nothing is organised properly in Cameroon’. I asked him to give me a chance to prove that we could do it better.”
Broos took over the Cameroon job in February, and Matip wasn’t willing to join back up straight away. By all accounts, he isn’t in the picture for the upcoming AFCON, either, no matter what his longer-term plans are regarding international football.
But he has represented the country of his ancestry in the past, and if Broos can prove he has Cameroon on the right track at the upcoming tournament, Matip could well be back in the fold in time to take part in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“He was not convinced,” noted Broos, “but in the meantime I’ve heard that he is now prepared to make a comeback and so I am going to go and see him again.”