SPORT: Football
Cameroon’s and Ajax goal keeper involved in a violent car crash.

Ajax goal­keep­er Andre Onana has report­ed­ly been involved in a sick­en­ing car crash on his way to play for Cameroon in their World Cup play-off against Algeria.

Onana had been trav­el­ling to Douala, the cap­i­tal of Cameroon, when he was caught up in the acci­dent accord­ing to a report, but the 25-year-old has for­tu­nate­ly escaped unscathed.

He was head­ed to Cameroon’s train­ing camp in Douala at the time of the inci­dent, the report adds — with no casu­al­ties report­ed in the col­li­sion from either vehicle.

Onana is still on course to start for Cameroon in their cru­cial World Cup on Fri­day despite being involved in the inci­dent, it says.

A Cham­pi­ons League semi-final­ist in 2019, Onana had been rat­ed as one of the most excit­ing young goal­keep­ers in world foot­ball in recent years before his career was blight­ed by a failed drugs test.

He was banned for one year by UEFA after test­ing pos­i­tive for Furosemide last Feb­ru­ary, but claimed he had acci­den­tal­ly tak­en his wife’s medication.

After an appeal, his sus­pen­sion was reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbi­tra­tion for Sport (CAS) after find­ing ‘no sig­nif­i­cant fault’ from Onana.

Onana — who will leave Ajax on a free trans­fer this sum­mer — explained the pain of try­ing to clear his name and remain focused despite being unable to set foot on the pitch dur­ing his suspension.

‘It’s very sim­ple what hap­pened,’ he exclu­sive­ly told Sports­mail in December.

‘I woke up with a headache and took a pill,’ he says of events back in Octo­ber 2020. He thought he was tak­ing Lita­col, which the club had pre­scribed him. But instead he took Lasi­mac, pre­scribed to his wife to com­bat water reten­tion. UEFA rec­og­nized that the tablets were very sim­i­lar in appear­ance and that there was no inten­tion to cheat but there still had to be consequences.

‘I took the tablet with­out a sec­ond thought and when I was picked for the ran­dom tests and I was the first to run across and get it over with.

Onana is still expect­ed to fea­ture for Cameroon on Fri­day despite the shock collision

‘In the end the law says that you are respon­si­ble for every­thing that goes into you. If today I go into a shop and I buy a bot­tle of water and the water is con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, it’s my responsibility.’

He told of how he felt like ‘an out­cast’ dur­ing his exile from the game — fear­ing for his place in the team at both Ajax and Cameroon.

‘When you are banned, you can’t do any­thing, you can’t even step foot on the (nor­mal train­ing) pitch.

‘The first thing I did was put togeth­er a team of coach­es but it’s not easy to find a qual­i­fied coach who is not work­ing. You have to find your psy­chol­o­gist, your fit­ness coach, a physio and a nutritionist.

‘I tried to always see the pos­i­tive side but there are times when you can’t find it. As a goal­keep­er it’s dif­fi­cult. Now some­one else is play­ing in your place. Only one can play in that position.’

Onana has been linked with a num­ber of top teams over the years — includ­ing Arse­nal — before his failed test derailed a trans­fer to a top team across the continent.

Onana — who will leave Ajax on a free trans­fer this sum­mer — admit­ted foot­ball had ‘turned its back on him’

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