Shaka Hislop says despite Sadio Mane’s comments, it will be hard for Liverpool to replace him while he’s at the AFCON.
Liverpool defender Joel Matip will be shielded from FIFA penalties following his African Nations Cup snub if he officially told the Cameroon Football Federation in advance, according to a leading sports lawyer.
The Cameroon FA (Fecafoot) released a statement confirming that Matip was one of seven players to refuse the invitation to represent Hugo Broos’ side at next month’s African Nations Cup and said that it “reserves the right to take action against these players in line with FIFA regulations”.
Matip, who last played for his country in 2015, explained earlier this month how he turned down the chance to play for Cameroon at the Gabon tournament in order to fully focus on his first season at Liverpool.
Sports lawyer Jake Cohen told Goal that players are “obliged” to accept call-ups to their national teams but believes Matip is an exception to the rule.
“The FIFA Regulations state that, as a general rule, players are obliged to accept their call-ups. However, there are exceptions to this rule. From what I understand, Joel Matip has not been part of the Cameroon set-up for over a year now,” Cohen said.
“I would imagine he has withdrawn his name for consideration, as is required, and in that case he would be covered.
“He wouldn’t be subjected to sanctions as long as he has informed Cameroon in writing that he is not available for selection prior to receiving this call-up.”
Matip was included on Cameroon’s preliminary squad of 35 players in case of a sudden U-turn, but they, ultimately, do not hold much hope.