Cameroon have vigorously disputed the suggestion that Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting missed out on a national team call-up because of an administrative error, and have suggested the Bayern Munich striker was simply ignoring their attempts to contact him.
Last week, Bild reported that an administrative error from the Cameroon FA (FECAFOOT) sent Choupo-Moting's letter of invitation to the wrong email address. Choupo-Moting, 32, was among the players initially requested by coach Antonio Conceicao, but was eventually left out of the final list released by the coach.
When asked, Conceicao told the media that the player had not responded to his invitation. That characterization was met by a swift response from Choupo-Moting's father Camille, who told Naja TV that neither his son nor his club received the invitation.
"I was contacted by the association to find out what was going on. I contacted FC Bayern and they confirmed that they had not received the invitation," he told Naja TV.
"It looks like they sent it to the wrong email address instead. For me, that's a lack of professionalism.
"When sending invitations, be sure to send them to the correct address. If that doesn't happen, I don't understand why it's the club's or Maxim's fault."
That claim has been disputed by the federation.
Cameroon head of communications Parfait Siki has made it clear that the federation have multiple ways of contacting players prior to making official call up announcements, and they followed those processes in their attempt to reach the former Paris Saint-Germain and Stoke City forward.
"The Cameroon Football Federation FECAFOOT made no mistake of the email address or contacts to the club and to the player," Siki told ESPN.
"We sent out invitations to all players including Choupo on the 5th of March 2021. We sent to clubs and players individually.
"For the particular case of Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, we got no reply. We called him and he didn't answer. Normally, we are supposed to have a reply within 10 days.
"We did a follow-up by calling him and sending his invitation via his WhatsApp contact, still no response."
Siki went on to suggest that this could have been Choupo-Moting's way of showing disinterest in making himself available for the fixtures, citing previous history with the striker.
"In our context, this was a clear message the player was sending," Siki said. "The same situation occurred during our previous matches against Mozambique in Douala and in Maputo for which he didn't show up.
"When he and his club stayed silent this time, we interpreted that to mean unavailability of the player to play for the country.
"This is why the coach took the decision to announce his squad list on the 16th of March for the upcoming matches without [Chupo-Monting's] name."
Cameroon have a history of disputes with players. In 2017, eight players, including Liverpool's Joel Matip withdrew from international duties after disputes with the federation, although Cameroon went on to win the title.
Nicolas Nkoulou, who was in that title-winning team, subsequently went on his own self-imposed international retirement soon after.
Choupo-Moting himself expressed regret at the entire incident, saying he remains available and committed to play for the Indomitable Lions
"I regret that there was a miscommunication in terms of the nomination," he said.
"I really wanted to play for my national team. Nevertheless I wish the team the very best for the African Cup Qualifiers. Cameroon is still and will be a matter of my heart and I'm looking forward to be nominated again for the next internationals in September."