Aside from a single appearance in the midst of an injury plagued 2015, Joël Matip hasn’t represented Cameroon regularly since 2014 and in the meantime has developed a rather adversarial relationship with the federation he chose to represent.
Things became especially strained during Hugo Broos’ time in charge of the national team, when Matip was called up by Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations despite having made it clear he did not wish to be involved with the national team.
Threats of a club-level ban followed, as did Matip’s formal retirement from international football at the age of 25. Now, though, Cameroon have a new manager in Clarence Seedorf, and the former Madrid man has been working to mend fences with Matip.
“Matip is a very good player and we spoke to him before the game against Comoros,” Seedorf said of the ongoing talks between the player and Cameroon as he prepared his side for a pair of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Malawi.
“He was injured and unavailable, but we have continued talking to him. We don’t want to rush with him. Matip asked for some time to get back in shape and that’s very important. He is a player we’re optimistic about and we’ll see what the future brings.”
Cameroon face Morocco in the next international break as they continue their preparations for the 2019 AFCON—which Cameroon, despite being qualified for already as the hosts, are taking part in the qualification tournament for.
If things go as Seedorf hopes, Matip will be involved during that next set of internationals and then at the 2019 tournament, which is scheduled to run during the summer from June 15th to July 13th