Andre Onana replaced by his cousin for Cameroon’s must-win Afcon game

Andre Onana training with Cameroon
Andre Onana is having a season to forget for club and country - Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Andre Onana’s disastrous season plumbed new depths when he was dropped to the bench for Cameroon’s crucial final Africa Cup of Nations group game.

The Manchester United goalkeeper missed his country’s opening game of the tournament having chosen to stay in England to play in the Premier League clash against Tottenham, then saw his flight to the Ivory Coast diverted to Abidjan from Yamoussoukro, 200 miles away.

Onana played in the 3-1 defeat by Senegal last Friday but had a shot-save percentage of zero and was dropped for the must-win Group C clash against Gambia at Stade de Bouaké, with his cousin Fabrice Ondoa chosen instead. Cameroon qualified for the round of 16 after 3-2 win and now face Nigeria on Saturday .

Fabrice Ondoa in action for Cameroon
Fabrice Ondoa is now Cameroon's first-choice goalkeeper - Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Cameroon manager Rigobert Song, the former Liverpool defender, has only just welcomed back Onana to the squad after coming out of international retirement this season, with his hiatus due to what he called “injustice and manipulation”.

He was suspended by his country’s federation during the 2022 World Cup for “disciplinary reasons”, then announced his retirement.

“I answer the call of my nation with an unshakeable certainty, aware that my return is not only to honour my dream, but also to meet the expectation and support of Cameroonians who deserve a national team determined to shine,” he said on his return.

He has been backed by United manager Erik ten Hag this season despite a series of errors since his £47.2 million move from Inter Milan in the summer.

His mistakes against Galatasaray in the Champions League were pivotal moments in United crashing out of the competition at the group stage. He was accused of making team-mates nervous and inviting a shoot-on-sight policy for opponents by former United players working as pundits.

“He makes his whole team nervous, he makes simple saves look difficult,” Paul Scholes said. Turkey goalkeeper Altay Bayındır was bought in the summer and is set to play in the FA Cup against Newport on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire have returned to full training in a boost to Ten Hag.

Maguire has been sidelined for the past six weeks since suffering a groin injury in the Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich last month.

Shaw, who missed three months at the start of the season with a thigh problem, has been out for the past four-and-a-half weeks with another injury sustained before Christmas.

Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire applaud the Man Utd fans
Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire have both returned to full training - Martin Rickett/PA

The defenders have now resumed training, though, and could potentially come into contention for the Newport tie should Ten Hag deem them ready.

Shaw and Maguire were pictured together in Dubai after the United players were among a contingent to ensure a short holiday in the emirate during the mini Premier League winter break.

Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez were also in training at Carrington on Tuesday as Ten Hag sees the welcome return of several key players.

Centre-half Martinez made his long-awaited return from injury as a second-half substitute in the 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Jan 14 when midfielder Casemiro was an unused substitute.

Fellow midfielder Mason Mount is still to return along with defenders Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia. Anthony Martial is the other senior absentee.

Talks between United and Granada over a loan deal for Facundo Pellistri have run into trouble with the Spanish club reluctant to cover more than a small part of the Uruguay winger’s wages. There is interest from other European clubs in the player, though.