By Matt Farr
Liverpool defender Joel Matip has left his relationship with the Cameroon national team in tatters, after rejecting a call-up to the squad for the African Cup of Nations.
The 25-year-old defender was named in Cameroon’s provisional 35-man squad for the tournament in Gabon next month but Matip has declared his intention to remain with Liverpool, a decision which has angered the national side.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Matip turned down the international call-up due to “a bad experience with the previous technical staff”.
The Echo also reports that the Cameroon Football Federation could threaten Matip with FIFA action.
While the decision has created a rift in the relationship between Matip and the national side, the news comes as a major boost to Liverpool, who will now have one of their key players at their disposal for an extra month.
Matip has made 14 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions this season, having arrived from Schalke in the summer, and has proven to be one of Jurgen Klopp’s most reliable defenders.
He missed Liverpool’s last two games with an ankle injury, but could return in Liverpool’s next game against Stoke on December 27.
The defender is understood to be one of seven Cameroon players to declare themselves unavailable for the tournament, including fellow Premier League defender, Allan Nyom.
Cameroon have won the Africa Cup of Nations on four occasions, their last triumph was over a decade ago in 2002.
In other Liverpool news, John Aldridge has reserved special praise for this impressive Liverpool player.