Liverpool defender Joel Matip was embroiled in a dispute with FIFA as Cameroon went on to emerge victorious in the Africa Cup of Nations, but looking back on the saga the 25-year-old has no regrets.
Matip, who had turned out only once for his national team since the 2014 World Cup, was included in Cameroon’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, despite stating his unwillingness to play.
It led to a wrangle between Liverpool, the Cameroon FA and FIFA, with Matip missing five games in January as a result.
But, despite the Lions going on to taste glory in the tournament and emerge victorious, Matip admits he holds no regret about not being out in the thick of the action in Gabon.
‘It’s done now and I’m looking to the future,’ Matip told Sportsmail’s Dominic King in a long and wide-ranging interview.
‘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,’ Matip added.
Since coming to the Premier League Matip has identified himself as a key component in Jurgen Klopp’s side, while showing himself to be a true winner.
Had he travelled with Cameroon he would have had another winners medal to add to his trophy collection, but the 25-year-old admits he knew the national team had all the capabilities to succeed.
‘I knew they could win it. I was happy,’ said Matip.
‘Cameroon is a big football nation. I was happy for them because the last years were not easy and they got back to their old spot.’
With plenty of his football career ahead of him the Liverpool man has plenty of opportunities to represent his country in the future, though Matip insists this won’t be the case.
When asked whether he would turn out in the colours of Cameroon again, Matip replied in an unequivocal tone.
‘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,’ he added.