Tunisia have lodged an official complaint with world football governing body FIFA over the eligibility of two Cameroonian players, following their hefty 4-1 defeat in the second leg of the World Cup Qualifying Play-off in Yaounde.
The two sides had drawn 0-0 when they first met in Tunisia, but the Indomitable Lions turned on the style in front of their home fans, outclassing the Tunisians 4-1 in a masterful display to secure their berth in next summer’s continental showdown in Brazil.
Tunisia have since however lodged a complaint with FIFA, questioning the naturalization procedure used to include Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Joel Matip in the Cameroonian national team.
While both players in question were born in Germany, Joel Matip has a German mother but a Cameroonian father, Jean Matip, who incidentally played for the Cameroonian national team as well.
Choupo-Moting did indeed turn out for Germany at various youth levels but never played for the senior side; and he then made the switch to represent the African side instead. What makes this Tunisian complaint especially bizarre is that the two players have played for Cameroon since 2010, and even represented Cameroon at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The complaint was met with an air of derision and ridicule by the Cameroon Football Federation, whose Secretary-General Tombi Roko Sidiki responded to the complaint by accusing the Tunisians of not being aware of the Cameroonian nationality laws.
“Tunisia are making a mistake. They did not examine our nationality laws before lodging the complaint to FIFA,” said Sidiki.
T“he two players in question are Cameroonians by birth because they were born each to a Cameroonian parent.”
“The two players are Cameroonians because their fathers are Cameroonians. Have you ever seen a German called Choupo-Moting or Matip?”
Tunisia have already benefited from a FIFA ruling following another player eligibility complaint, this time against Cape Verde in the World Cup qualifying group stage, but it is highly unlikely that they will be successful this time around.
FIFA nevertheless have given the Cameroon Football Federation 48 hours to provide administrative documents in defence of the two players, and will deliver their verdict on the debate on November 28.
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