Cameroonian goalkeeper André Onana just wants to play

While the club dumped most foreign born players Subject to the rule, Onana’s promise was so high that he was persuaded to stay at the ac...


While the club dumped most foreign born players Subject to the rule, Onana’s promise was so high that he was persuaded to stay at the academy, where he was allowed to continue training every day but not play in official matches. The interruption of competition has taken its toll. “You can train as much as you want, but at the end of the day you train to play,” Onana said. “And if you don’t, it affects you mentally and physically.”

By the time Onana turned 18 and was eligible to play again, Barcelona had signed Marc-André ter Stegen, a promising German goalkeeper, and Claudio Bravo, who had just helped Chile win the Copa América. Onana knew, he said, that his future lay elsewhere.

He decided to try his luck in the Netherlands and within a year he established himself as Ajax’s No.1 goalkeeper. He was only 19 years old.

The timing couldn’t have been better. Ajax, like Barcelona, ​​had a passion for local talent, and the talents who had just started entering their first team turned out to be the best in a generation. And the ball skills that Onana had honed at Barcelona matched the style of his Ajax perfectly.

Success quickly followed, as did strong performances against wealthier clubs in European competitions like the Champions League. By the summer of 2020, some of those teams had started going in circles, offering Ajax millions for their young goalkeeper. Ajax refused to sell, confident that the price of Onana and her other young stars would continue to rise.

And then, as he had done a few years earlier, everything stopped for Onana when her screening test came back positive. Onana appealed against the one-year ban imposed on him and the European football governing body accepted his explanation.

But under football regulations he was still responsible, and so the sentence, reduced to seven months, meant that from February 2021 Onana was effectively excluded from football. When his Ajax teammates lifted the trophy that spring to celebrate a title he had contributed to, he was not allowed to enter the stadium to watch.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Cameroonian goalkeeper André Onana just wants to play
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