Cameroon coach Rigobert Song praised his team’s fighting spirit after a 3-3 draw against Serbia in Group G of the World Cup without starting goalkeeper Andre Onana, who was sidelined for disciplinary reasons.
Onana appeared as “absent” on the team’s roster at Al Janoub Stadium and Song explained that he had to give priority to the team ahead of the match with Serbia.
“He’s a very important player, but we’re in a competition and my role is to put the team ahead of people,” Song told a news conference amid reports of a tactical dispute with the goalkeeper.
“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. It’s not about their performances, but you have to preserve the squad,” he added about the Inter Milan player.
“Maybe we needed a strong signal. It’s a big risk I took. But I’m the father of these guys, so when I have to take risks and make decisions, I do it and stick to what I do.”
The 46-year-old Song, who played four World Cups with the African national team, has not yet decided whether Onana will be sent home or get a second chance. “We’ll see if it continues. We’ll see if he plays the rules again,” he said.
Cameroon, which has one point from two matches in Group G, will need to beat Brazil on Friday to have a chance of advancing to the knockout stages.