Indomitable Lions keeper, Andre Onana, has been in the spotlight for his goal-saving prowess that enabled Cameroon thrash Burundi 3-0 to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Burundi’s Head Coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, was among the first to congratulate the 27-year-old. He hailed Onana for stopping many balls from animating the Indomitable Lions’ net during the first half of the game when the Swallows were mounting pressure against the Indomitable Lions.
“Onana did so many saves, and you could have seen what you are seeing now. I think the first half could have gone at least two or three goals… You saw what he did, but that is football,” Coach Etienne Ndayiragije reacted during a post-match press briefing.
“I don’t even need to tell you. Where does he play at Manchester United? It says it. It takes a lot to reach that level,” he added.
One of Onana’s vital saves for Cameroon came in the 27th minute of the game after an organised free kick from Burundi almost shook the Lions’ net.
The Manchester United keeper swiftly stopped a header from a Burundi attacker, who was connecting the free kick straight into the net.
Onana made at least three other significant saves during the match, denying Burundi a much-desired goal that could have guaranteed their second AFCON participation.
Like the Burundi Head Coach, the Indomitable Lions’ Rigobert Song was not indifferent to Onana’s show of skill.
“Andre Onana is one of the leaders, and today he showed he is one of the best,” said Song during the post-match press conference.
This was Andre Onana’s first appearance for Cameroon since November 2022, when he featured in the 2022 World Cup game against Switzerland, during which Cameroon lost 1-0.
He was excluded from the next game against Serbia, where Cameroon drew 3-3, and was later suspended from the team for disciplinary reasons. He had disagreed with head coach Rigobert Song on match tactics.
But Onana was recalled to the team last month after he was listed among the 24 Indomitable Lions players selected for the game against Burundi.
Onana is among the world’s best goalkeepers as of now. He was recently nominated for the 2023 Balon d’Or as the World’s Best Player, and again for the Yachine Trophy, which is awarded to the world’s best goalkeeper.
Before his recent move to Manchester United, Onana helped Inter Milan reach the finals of last season’s Champions League.