Andre Onana: Ajax goalkeeper opens up about his nine-month drugs ban in powerful interview

Andre Onana has opened up about his drugs ban

In February 2021, Andre Onana’s football career took a drastic turn.

The Cameroonian goalkeeper had excelled for Ajax since making his debut in 2016 and was considered one of the best youngsters in world football.

But he was forced to take time away from the sport after failing a drugs test.

Onana was banned from playing for 12 months by UEFA after testing positive for Furosemide.

Onana accidentally took the substance after mistaking one of his wife’s pills for a headache tablet.

The sentence was later reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ahead of his return to the sport, Onana has opened up about exactly what happened and how he felt following the positive test.

Onana gave a powerful interview to The Players’ Tribune and you can view it below…

Click here to view Onana’s whole account on The Players’ Tribune.

Onana started by reminiscing about how he learned he failed a drugs test.

He wrote: “It’s a stain on my name. André Onana banned for doping… how do you explain that s*** to your family? To your kids? In one week in February 2021, I lost everything.

“I was in Cameroon with the national team and I got a call from the team doctor at Ajax.

“When he told me I’d tested positive for furosemide, my reaction was, ‘How? Is this a joke?’

“I told him, “Doc, for sure you’ve made a mistake. I know how these tests go. I’ve done many of them and there’s never been a problem.



“Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. And I’ve never touched drugs. No way. I’d never even heard of furosemide.

“The only pills I’d ever put in my body were the ones the club or national team doctors prescribed.

“What was this bulls***, now?

“After I spoke with Ajax, I called my girlfriend, Melanie. I was actually laughing telling her about it. I was so sure this was just a mistake. Suddenly, she was like, “André, furosemide … that’s in the pregnancy medicine the doctors gave me.”

“That’s when it hit me. This wasn’t some admin error.

“I must’ve gone for a headache pill and got the boxes mixed up. I took the pill the doctor had prescribed Melanie. The boxes were basically identical. F***.

“This was definitely not some crazy excuse I just made up. I didn’t invent anything. I wasn’t trying to cheat. All the evidence was there. This was just a stupid mistake.”

Andre Onana in action for Ajax

Onana knew that he made a mistake and accepted he would be punished. But he didn’t think he’d be punished as harshly as he was.

He said: “After everything, I assumed they would be like, “O.K., these things happen. It’s a mistake. Be more careful next time.

“To put it in football terms, I thought they would show me a yellow card. But nah, they went straight for the red.

“The sanction meant I couldn’t go to matches, I couldn’t train with the team, I couldn’t attend the celebration for the title at the end of the season — even though I’d played 60% of the season — every match up until the ban!

“How is that fair?! It felt like everything I’d worked for had been taken away.

“I get it. The law is the law, right? You f*** up, you pay the price. And I paid.

“But sometimes you wonder, are they punishing you to teach you a lesson, or are they doing it just to hurt you?”

Andre Onana in action for Ajax

Onana soon noticed that people around him changed after he was banned for doping.

He continued: “People around me changed. People who were laughing stopped laughing, they stopped smiling. Some people disappeared altogether. There were people I expected to reach out to me who didn’t. I learned from that. I started to see the world more clearly.”

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Onana is now back playing again and he has some lofty ambitions.

He said: “Now I’m back playing again, my dreams are the same as when I was a little kid sitting way up high in the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

“I want to represent my country. I want to win AFCON and become a legend for eternity.

“And, I want to become the best goalie in the world.

“Everyone takes hits. Everyone falls.

“What I learned this year more than anything is it’s not about that. It’s about how you get up.”

What a powerful interview. We wish Onana all the best as he looks to get his career back on track.

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