Fabrice Ondoa: Cameroon Goalkeeper Discloses How AFCON Ruined His Barcelona Career

Fabrice Ondoa: Cameroon Goalkeeper Discloses How AFCON Ruined His Barcelona Career

Lukman Mumuni
updated at March 26, 2024 at 5:56 AM
In this article:
Fabrice N'Guessi Ondama logo
F. N. Ondama
Cameroon logo
FC Barcelona logo
FC Barcelona
Nimes logo
Nîmes Olympique
Spanish La Liga logo
SPA La Liga
  • Fabrice Ondoa has disclosed how AFCON affected his Barcelona career
  • The Cameroon keeper moved to Europe to join Barcelona at a young age
  • He spent two years with the Catalan giants before leaving in 2016

Cameroon goalkeeper, Fabrice Ondoa, has opened up on how choosing to play at the Africa Cup of Nations affected his dreams of breaking into the Barcelona first team.

The 28-year-old was on the brink of achieving his lifelong goal of playing for the Catalan giants after signing a professional contract with the club in 2015.

However, a decision to honour an invite from the national team for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations affected his chances.

Fabrice Ondoa, Cameroon, Barcelona, AFCON, Andre Onana, Africa Cup of Nations.
Fabrice Ondoa and Andre Onana preparing for an AFCON game in Ivory Coast. Credit: @FECAFOOT.
Source: Twitter
"If I thought about becoming Barcelona's number 1? I think I might have had my chance. I have an anecdote about it. When I signed my first professional contract with Barça, the former director of La Masia told me that I was the Martin Luther King of La Masia," he told Foot Mercato, as quoted by Tribal Football.
"He explained to me that I was the first African goalkeeper to have signed a professional contract with Barcelona. It's something extraordinary and demonstrated the expectations that were placed on me," he added.

At that point, Ondoa trained with the first team as he was being prepared for the senior team while also being a regular for the B side.

When the call-up came, he was warned about his choice but the Nimes goalkeeper wanted to represent the Indomitable Lions.

"Then decisions were made. I made some choices regarding the Cameroon national team. I had made it a priority and wanted to participate in the African Cup in 2015. This is what shook the system, I was made to understand," he continued.
"I was kindly reminded that I had been trained with the aim of eventually breaking into the first team. I was told it was a little early to reach Cameroon. I was professional because I played with Barça's reserves, who were playing in the second division at the time.
"The reserve coach told me: 'You've just won the Youth League, you've signed a professional contract. You have to play. If you go to Cameroon, I can't guarantee you will play.' I went to the national team and never played for Barcelona again."

Two years later, Ondoa became an African champion after starring for Cameroon as they defeated Egypt to win the tournament for the fifth time.

These days Ondoa plies his trade in the French National Championnat with Olympique Nimes, per Transfermarkt.

Ondoa replaces Onana as Cameroon's first choice

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Fabrice Ondoa replaced Onana as the first-choice goalkeeper of Cameroon at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Manchester United goalkeeper, Onana, was dropped after Senegal defeated the Indomitable Lions in their second group game in Ivory Coast.

Cameroon's run at the tournament came to an end in the Round of 16 after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Nigeria.

Lukman Mumuni photo
Lukman Mumuni
Lukman Abdul Mumin is a Sports Journalist based in Accra, Ghana. He has been writing for the past five years. Lukman joined Sports Brief as an Editor for the Local Desk in 2022.