Cameroonian coach discusses possibility of Joel Matip return
There is no possibility that Joel Matip will return to the selection of the Cameroonian national team, according to manager Antonio Conceição.
Matip, born in Germany, has only made 27 appearances for Cameroon, the most recent having arrived in 2015, when he had a difficult relationship with the country’s FA.
He has twice turned down calls to the Africa Cup of Nations (2010 and 2017), despite having participated in the 2014 World Cup, scoring his country’s only goal of the tournament.
Having officially retired in 2015, Matip then cited his bad experiences with the Cameroonian structure as a reason for definitively withdrawing from the selection.
“I tried to play and represent my country, to do my best and accomplish something, but all the things around were not the best,” he told The Times in 2017.
“I have always tried and tried. I talked to the former coach a lot and he always tried to change things. I said, “OK, I’ll try again. “
“I’ve tried it over and over and at some point you have to say enough is enough. You can’t keep saying, ‘Maybe next time it gets better, it gets better.’ ”
Since then Matip has enjoyed major success with Liverpool, winning the Champions League and Premier League and establishing himself among the best center-backs in Europe.
The next Africa Cup of Nations is set to take place in Cameroon, Matip’s homeland, in 2022 – a potentially tempting experience for the Liverpool star, who missed the Indomitable Lions’ success in 2017.
The tournament, scheduled for January and February next year, could also see Liverpool stars Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita away from their club for several weeks.
However, there will be no coming home for Matip, according to Cameroonian manager Conceição, who revealed to 90min.fr that he tried to contact the defender without success.
Conceição now admits that Matip’s international future is “finished”.
“Any coach would like to have the best players,” he said 90min, asked about possible returns for players who have turned down the national team previously.
“They [Matip and Nicolas N’Koulou] are two very good players who play in the big European leagues. Regarding Joël Matip, I did not have the chance to discuss with him.
“There were serious problems between him and the selection before I took office. There was therefore no possibility of summoning him.
“I tried several times to reach him, he didn’t. For him, the selection is over and I must respect his position. ”
Matip, who made 10 appearances in 2020/21, is currently a problem for Liverpool, having been substituted at half-time in the Reds’ 3-1 win over Tottenham on Thursday.