Benoit Assou-Ekotto (L) not picked while his club mate Sebastien Bassong (R) is in Cameroon squad
Cameroon’s head coach Javier Clemente has named Edgar Sali (Monaco) and Joel Matip (Shalke 04) in a 23-man squad, that does not include Tottenham’s Assou-Ekotto, to face Mauritius in Yaounde next month.
The 18-year-old Sali was named the player of the tournament at the African Youth Championships this year but was unable to join his teammates for the U-20 World Cup in Columbia after he signed for French Ligue 2 side Monaco in July.
He is used as a wide midfielder for the Junior Lions although he has the potential to become a forward going central midfield dynamo.
Twenty-year-old Joel Matip, has not played for Cameroon since he appeared as a substitute in a friendly against Macedonia. This hasn’t gone down well with many Cameroon football fans who watch Matip in midfield or central defence for his German Club. He reached the semi-finals of the European Champions League with Shalke 04 this year.
Cameroon’s Spanish-born manager handed a first call-up to Leonie Kweuke, a striker who plays for Sparta Prague. Henri Bienvenu Tsama (Young Boys Berne), who appeared for the Lions in a friendly against Poland last year is given a second chance to prove his worth.
Midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba (Odense, Denmark) and France-based forward Alo’o Efoulou (AS Nancy) have also been recalled. Djemba has not featured for Cameroon since 2009 while Efoulou is picked for the first time since the Africa Cup of Nations in 2010.
Meanwhile Alexandre Song (Arsenal) is expected to make his full come-back for the Lions after a one-year hiatus.
However, Clemente has no place in his squad for Benoit Assou-Ekotto. The Spurs left-back has been left out for disciplinary reasons, the assistant coach Francois Omam Biyick said on a local TV station.
“The problem with Assou-Ekotto started before the game against Senegal when we held a friendly against Macedonia. He was called to camp but he did not come and nobody knew where he was. The coach tried Gaetan Bong and was satisfied,” Omam is quoted as saying.
There was an uproar in March when Assou-Ekotto didn’t make the squad to face Senegal in Dakar and the staff was forced to later recall him. He was among Cameroon’s best performers in that game.But he did not turn-up for the return-leg although he had been named in the team.
He was summoned to a Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) disciplinary hearing to explain his absence but he didn’t appear in person.
Omam said if the final decision was his to make he would pick Assou-Ekotto because he is among Cameroon’s very best at the moment.
Charles Itandje dropped by Clemente ahead of Mauritius Game
The other high profile absentee is Achille Webo, the former Majorca forward who has moved to Turkey.
Clemente admires Webo but dropped him to the bench in Yaounde against Senegal. After promising displays by the youngsters fielded in that match maybe the Spaniard now understands why Webo wasn’t such a big hit among the fans.
The former Liverpool keeper Charles Itandje (cf photo) has also been dropped and replaced by the young Jules Goda.
Stephane Mbia (Marseille) and Vincent Aboubakar (Valencienne) are injured and out of contention for a place in the squad.
West Bromwich Albion’s Somen Tchoyi may feel slighted by the coaches though, given the fine form he has shown as a versatile forward for the team in the early days of the 2011/2012 English Premier League.
Here’s the complete list as published on the FECAFOOT website:
1. Idriss Carlos Kameni, RCD Espanyol – Spain
2. Guy Roland Ndy Assembe, AS Nancy – Lorraine – France
3. Jules Goda, Portimonense – Portugal
4. Benoit Angbwa, FK Anzhi Makhachkala – Russia
5. Nicolas Nkoulou, Olympique Marseille – France
6. Sebastien Bassong, Tottenham Hotspurs – England
7. Gaetan Bong, FC Valenciennes – France
8. Eyong Takang Enoh, AFC Ajax Amsterdam – Holland
9. Aurelien Chedjou, Lille OSC – France
10. Eric Djemba Djemba, OB Odense – Denmark
11. Henri Bedimo, Montpellier – France
12. Landry Nguemo, Girondins de Bordeaux – France
13. Alexandre Song, Arsenal – England
14. Andongcho Mathew Mbuta, Chrystal Palace -USA
15. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, FSV Mainz 05 – Germany
16. Benjamin Moukandjo, AS Nancy – Lorraine – France
17. Samuel Eto’o, FK Anzhi Makhachkala – Russia
18. Ngako Deutcha Duvalois, Sable FC de Batie – Cameroun
19. Joel Matip, Schalke 04 – Germany
20. Paul Alo’o Efoulou, AS Nancy – Lorraine – France
21. Bienvenu Ntsama, Young Boys – Switzerland
22. Edgar Salli, AS Monaco – France
23. Leonard Kweuke, AC Sparta Prague – Czech Republic