Johannesburg (AFP) – Cameroon have chosen two stars who shunned the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations-winning campaign for their first match since defeating Egypt in the final last month.
Marseille midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Schalke striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting were recalled for a friendly against Tunisia in Monastir Friday.
They were among eight of the preliminary Cameroon Cup of Nations squad who withdrew before the list was cut to 23, saying their club careers in Europe were more important.
Belgian coach Hugo Broos promised not to hold grudges against the “rebels” and has kept his word for matches against Tunisia and Guinea four days later in a Brussels suburb.
Another “rebel”, Liverpool defender Joel Matip, has ruled out playing again for the five-time African champions.
He told the London Times his international career was finished after numerous complaints about chaotic preparations for internationals went unheeded.
“My international career is finished,” he said. “I wanted to continue representing Cameroon, but promises were never kept.”
Turkey-based Vincent Aboubakar, who scored the late winner in the 2-1 final triumph over Egypt in Libreville, is among the 23 players called up.
Tunisia, quarter-finals losers to Burkina Faso at the Cup of Nations, are ranked fifth in Africa, two places below Cameroon.
Ghana are the only top-10 nation not in action between Friday and Tuesday during the FIFA international window as countries prepare for 2018 World Cup and 2019 Cup of Nations qualifiers.
New Belgium-born Ivory Coast coach Marc Wilmots will watch from the stands when the 2015 African champions play Russia in Krasnodar Friday and Senegal in Paris Monday.
Caretaker boss Ibrahim Kamara has axed misfiring English Premier League strikers Wilfried Bony and Max-Alain Gradel after a disastrous Cup of Nations defence.
The “Elephants” failed to win a group game in Gabon and were among the eight first-round casualties.
Burkina Faso, who exceeded Africa Cup expectations by finishing third, face resurgent Nigeria in London Monday.
Many Nigerians were unhappy when German Gernot Rohr was named coach last year, but World Cup qualifying wins over Zambia and Algeria silenced critics.
Watford striker Isaac Success is among six uncapped players in the “Super Eagles” squad.
South Africa have suffered from the lack of a consistent scorer for many years and hope Portugal-based teenager Luther Singh could be the long-term solution.
The striker starred at the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia with a hat-trick against Cameroon propelling him to the leading scorer award.
Bafana Bafana (“The Boys”) host shock 2017 Cup of Nations qualifiers Guinea-Bissau in Durban Saturday, and Angola in East London Tuesday.
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