Ondoa: My Desire To Represent Cameroon At AFCON 2015 Cost Me My Place In Barca

Complete Sports | Nimes goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa has disclosed that he lost his place at Barcelona just because of his commitment to represent Cameroon at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

In a chat with Foot Mercato, Ondoa stated that the reserve coach told him that if he chooses to play for Cameroon he won’t return to the club as number one goalkeeper.

“For us it has always been something extraordinary to be able to be two high-level Cameroonian goalkeepers. At La Masia I and André (Onana) we weren’t in the same category but we still lived together. I was able to train with the first team before him and I was able to explain to him how it worked. When it happened to him, he was already ready.

“If I thought about becoming Barcelona’s number 1? I think I might have had my chance. I have an anecdote about it. When I signed my first professional contract with Barça, the former director of La Masia told me that I was the Martin Luther King of La Masia. He explained to me that I was the first African goalkeeper to have signed a professional contract with Barcelona. It’s something extraordinary and demonstrated the expectations that were placed on me.

“Then decisions were made. I made some choices regarding the Cameroon national team. I had made it a priority and wanted to participate in the African Cup in 2015. This is what shook the system, I was made to understand. What was I really told? I was kindly reminded that I had been trained with the aim of eventually breaking into the first team. I was told it was a little early to reach Cameroon. I was professional because I played with Barça’s reserves, who were playing in the second division at the time.

“As you know, this championship does not respect the FIFA calendar so when you go to the national team the championship continues. It was my big handicap. I won’t mention his name but when I started with Cameroon in 2014, I was in the second division with the B team. The reserve coach told me: ‘you’ve just won the Youth League, you’ve signed a professional contract. You have to play. If you go to Cameroon, I can’t guarantee you will play.’ I went to the national team and never played for Barcelona again.”

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