The Ajax stopper has told Goal that he’s benefiting from the veteran’s presence in the Indomitable Lions camp.Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has told Goal that he’s benefiting from Carlos Kameni’s presence in the Indomitable Lions camp, despite criticism about the latter’s continued inclusion.
Onana was in goal as Cameroon beat Comoros 3-0 to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in Saturday’s final qualifier at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
Coach Clarence Seedorf was criticised for including 35-year-old Kameni, who’s yet to play a game at Turkish giants Fenerbahce this season.
However, Onana, who has reportedly been attracting the interest of Barcelona in recent months, has defended his teammate, and revealed the specific advice the veteran gave him ahead of the showdown with the Comoros.
“I felt good being in goal for Cameroon [against the Comoros] as I received a lot of advice from Carlos Kameni,” Onana told Goal .
“It’s just luck that I was selected to start when Kameni is around, but he told me to be strong, and [to be] confident that I am good. “He’s played more matches, and has experience in Europe too,” Onana added, “[but] I have the mental strength whenever we train together in the national team.
“It’s great being around him.“
Kameni spent eight years with Barca’s rivals Espanyol, where he won the Copa del Rey in 2006, before signing for Malaga in 2012.
Cameroon entered the campaign despite qualifying for the tournament as the original hosts, with the results of their matches counting for the other teams.
However, Caf’s decision to take the tournament away from the reigning champions and award it to Egypt means that Clarence Seedorf’s Lions still had to officially qualify to defend their title.
Onana appears to have won over Seedorf, and has started all of the Lions’ last three matches ahead of his cousin Fabrice Ondoa, who was between the sticks when Cameroon won the Afcon in 2017.
“It’s true that I play regularly with Ajax in Europe, which may likely influence the coach’s choice of the goalkeeper, but together [with Ondoa and Kameni] we make a great team.”
Kameni has 70 caps for the national side, and Seedorf told reporters last week that he had been included for his experience, which was an area that the coach had addressed as a point of weakness within the squad.
“Kameni brings in great leadership to the team and this is something we need in the squad at the moment,” Seedorf began, as per BBC Sport .
“His leadership qualities are more important to the team now than whether he is playing or not. We have two other good keepers,”
Onana is now poised to appear in his first Afcon after turning down a pre-selection request by former coach Hugo Broos ahead of the 2017 triumph in Gabon.
“It will be great moving to Egypt this year,” Onana concluded, “we want to retain our title.”
Cameroon are among the six top seeds for the Afcon group-stage draw, which will take place in Cairo on April 12.