United States and Cameroon appear to be in a heated battle for the international commitment of Columbus Crew midfielder Tony Tchani. Just a few months after Tchani participated in the USMNT’s annual January camp, Cameroon has now listed him on their roster for their upcoming World Cup qualifier vs. South Africa.
The saga is far from over as players get listed on rosters all the time and either decline or withdraw. Tchani was scheduled to play for Cameroon last year before withdrawing with an injury. However, if he does choose to accept the call up and is capped in this World Cup qualifier, he’d be officially cap-tied to Cameroon and unable to play for the USA ever again.
If this were to happen, it’s debatable how big of a loss it would be for the USMNT. Sure, Tchani hasn’t played much of a role for the U.S. so far in his career. His time at January camp and in the two friendlies were forgettable, but he occupies a major position of need for the team. Defensive midfielders with the skillset that Tchani has aren’t easily available around the American soccer world.
Would the loss of Tchani to Cameroon hurt the U.S. immediately? Probably not. But once Kyle Beckerman’s time with the team is over with, the CDM depth chart dwindles dramatically. Having Tchani there as a safety net would’ve been nice. It’s unlikely that Klinsmann or the USSF can do anything more to try and convince the player to stay with them, they’ll just have to hope that he’s not ready to cap-tie himself to one country yet.