Every player plays for his club and national side during his play career and later it is generally seen that he first retires from the international soccer and keeps playing for the club soccer but sometimes his international retirement attracts controversy that makes it difficult for his club to play him in club games.
Liverpool’s 25-year-old defender Joël Matip is one such player who is having such a problem these days. Actually, Matip has not played for his national side Cameroon since September 2015 and he also made it clear back in December that he had no intention to represent his country in any international game which was taken as his international retirement but after his name was selected in Cameroon’s squad for the ongoing African Nations Cup in Gabon it made it even more difficult for his club Liverpool to pick him overriding his international controversy.
If we look at what Cameroonian Football Federation has to say they explain they have a right to do this under FIFA rules and if any player does not report on duty, he could consequently be suspended from club football for the duration of the tournament which means Matip can be debarred from FA Cup third round replay against Plymouth on Wednesday Cameroonian Football Federation files an official complaint of his absent from the international duty.
Talking about the dilemma and if Reds can really pick him for the next round of FA Cup games, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said in a pre-match news conference, “There are not a lot of times in my life when I have been in a situation like this, not even a similar situation. I don’t want to blame anybody but I think our supporters deserve to know about the process we are in.
“In this moment, we are sure we did nothing wrong. We are sure Joel Matip did nothing wrong. He didn’t play for Cameroon since 2015. Since he has been here he has not been a Cameroon national player. In this moment he is not in the squad of Cameroon, so he cannot play for them, but in this moment we have not a 100 percent guarantee he could play for us. That is the situation.”
Earlier, Cameroon federation issued a statement saying, “Kindly be advised that FECAFOOT wish not to comment on decision derived from the laws of the game. The laws are impersonal, nondiscriminatory and to be respected as pledged by all actors of the game. The decision by Liverpool FC is nor in favour of FECAFOOT neither in disfavour of the player, rather in favour of the law.
“Our focus is the tournament we are competing in at present, which is the most important competition of our continent and among the best globally, as well as the players here present to defend our national colours. We shall be available for comments on any other subject at a latter and more relevant time. Thanking you in advance for your understanding.”
Joel Matip: Vlad1988 / Shutterstock, Inc.