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Cameroon manager Rigobert Song has chosen not to single out goalkeeper Andre Onana following his team’s significant 3-1 loss to Senegal.

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Onana, who had missed the tournament’s opening match due to his delayed departure from Manchester United, was back in the starting lineup for Friday’s game. However, he couldn’t prevent Senegal from securing a substantial victory.

Criticism was directed at Onana for Senegal’s third goal, scored late by Sadio Mane, as he seemed to take an extended time to react to a low strike, extinguishing Cameroon’s hopes of salvaging a crucial point.

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“I’m not going to blame anyone; I’m going to take responsibility,” stated Song after the match. “My players fought. We must recognize that Senegal were better than us. The next match we will win and qualify for the next round.”

With this defeat, Cameroon currently occupies the third spot in Group C, outside the automatic qualification positions. Even a victory against bottom-placed The Gambia may not be sufficient to secure a top-two finish, potentially leaving Song’s team vying for advancement as one of the best third-placed finishers.

Andre Onana reflected on the game to Canal+ Sport Afrique, saying, “Maybe they played better. We had our chances, both teams had their periods. We had the opportunity to come back to 2-2, but it didn’t work out. Everything depends on details, and the match has changed.”

Facing the possibility of early elimination from AFCON, Onana expressed confidence in Cameroon’s abilities and emphasized learning from mistakes. He acknowledged the quality of the opposing team, Senegal, the African champions, who posed challenges for Cameroon.

Should Cameroon exit AFCON prematurely, Onana would return to Manchester United before the end of the month. The upcoming schedule includes a match against Wolves on February 1 and a visit from West Ham three days later.

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