When is Andre Onana back from AFCON? Africa Cup of Nations schedule and Man United games missed by goalkeeper

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations could have a major impact on the Premier League at the start of 2024 as a host of star names join up with their national sides.

The prospect of a mid-season international tournament is never popular for club teams with the 2022 FIFA World Cup forcing a historic pause to the European club calendar due to the finals being staged in Qatar’s winter in November and December last year.

However, the schedule of AFCON places the competition in January in the majority of years in which it has taken place, with the Europe’s domestic football impacted as a result.

The 2023 version (played in 2024) will run for just over a month and supporters of Premier League teams will be hoping for an early return for their star names.

One of those is Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana, who was named in the Cameroon squad for the finals. His club teammate, Sofyan Amrabat, will also be at AFCON in January, representing Morocco.

MORE: Where is FIFA World Cup 2026? Host countries, cities for next men’s tournament

When is Andre Onana back from AFCON?

Onana was named in the Cameroon squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, held in the Ivory Coast. His side will face Guinea, Senegal and Gambia in Group C, with those games running from January 15, 2024 to January 23, 2024.

Should Cameroon progress all the way to the final, Onana will not return to Man United until after that game on February 11, 2024.

When is the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations?

The Africa Cup of Nations starts on January 13, 2024, with the opening match between tournament hosts Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau. The tournament runs all the way to the final on February 11, 2024.

The AFCON includes six groups of four teams (A-F) with the top two automatically qualifying for the Round of 16 stage.

Those 12 teams will be joined by the four best-performing third-placed nations from the six groups, with criteria based on head-to-head results between teams and secondly head-to-head goal difference.

How many Man United games will Andre Onana miss?

Onana was included in the provisional Cameroon squad for the tournament after being recalled by head coach Rigobert Song.

The goalkeeper controversially announced his international retirement during the 2022 World Cup following a fallout with Song over tactics in Qatar, but the pair have since put aside their differences.

FIFA is yet to confirm a formal date for players to be released by their clubs and Cameroon have scheduled pre-AFCON friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and Zambia on January 8 and 9 respectively.

Cameroon have been placed in Group C alongside defending champions Senegal, Guinea and Gambia. Their full group-stage schedule is listed below.

Match Date
Cameroon vs. Guinea January 15
Senegal vs. Cameroon January 19
Gambia vs. Cameroon January 23

United face Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup Third Round on January 8 and a home Premier League game against Tottenham on January 14. Onana is expected to miss both matches.

However, the Premier League takes a two-week break from January 15 to 28, and United will not return to league action until February 1, with a possible FA Cup Fourth Round on January 27-28.

If Cameroon are eliminated at the group stages, Onana will only miss the Wigan and Tottenham games, but the picture is more complicated if they progress into the knockouts.

United have three Premier League matches on the schedule from February 1 to 11 and Onana’s availability will depend on how Cameroon fare at the tournament.

Man United fixture Competition Date Onana status
Wigan Athletic vs. Man United FA Cup January 8 Likely absent due to friendlies
Man United vs. Tottenham Premier League January 14 Absent for Cameroon vs. Guinea on Jan 15
TBC FA Cup January 27-28 Available if Cameroon go out in group stages
Wolves vs. Man United Premier League February 1 Absent if Cameroon reach quarterfinals
Man United vs. West Ham Premier League February 4 Absent if Cameroon reach semifinals
Aston Villa vs. Man United Premier League February 11 Absent if Cameroon reach final

Who will replace Andre Onana for Man United during AFCON?

United will be looking to reduce the impact of losing Onana regardless of the length of his absence for AFCON.

Despite his mixed start to life at United, the former Inter Milan keeper has been ever present, completing every game across all competitions since the start of 2023/24.

The most likely candidate to step in as cover is Turkey international Altay Bayindir who is still waiting for his United debut since joining from Fenerbahce in September.

Bayindir will be an experienced alternative for manager Erik ten Hag and he is expected to get the nod over Tom Heaton and Radek Vitek.

2023 Africa Cup of Nations schedule, dates

Hosts Ivory Coast kick off the opening fixture against Guinea-Bissau on January 13 in Abidjan.

The Round of 16 starts on January 27, with the quarterfinal and semifinals beginning on February 2 and 7 respectively.

Round Date
Group Stage  January 13-24, 2024
Round of 16 January 27-30, 2024
Quarterfinal February 2-3, 2024
Semifinal February 7, 2024
Third place playoff February 10, 2024
Final February 11, 2024
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