Crew’s Tchani earns well-deserved Cameroon call-up ahead of World Cup qualifiers

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Image

A coaching change in Cameroon means a new honor for the latest Major League Soccer international call-up.

Tony Tchani, 26, of the Columbus Crew is set to make his international bow thanks to interim boss Alexandre Belinga, who called the 6-foot-4 midfielder into camp for the Indomitable Lions’ 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

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Tchani became a U.S. citizen in 2013, and many — like me — hoped there would be room for the USMNT in his heart. But the Bafang-born mid is going to camp next week, and he credits Crew manager Gregg Berhalter.


“Without Gregg these things wouldn’t happen,” he said. “I don’t think he makes phone calls. But it’s the fact that he has confidence in us pretty much every game. And with the style of play we’re playing, everybody gets involved. So I feel like we get more recognition from the national teams.”

The midfielder does strong work at both ends of the pitch, and should do well on the international level. Tchani is Belinga’s only uncapped call-up.