Yesterday, Ambroise Oyongo made a surprising and cryptic return to social media. Today, he continued the trend: favoriting a couple of tweets directed at him by Montreal fans.
That's not an entirely positive sentiment, but also not an unreasonable one: why would you swap someone who wants to play for L'Impact for someone who has made it clear he does not? Oyongo appears to agree.
But Oyongo is sending mixed messages, since his apparent endorsement of a request for a selfie in Montreal kit suggests a more optimistic outlook.
Our man Aaron Bauer wondered whether Oyongo's return to something resembling a public profile might possibly signify his return to something resembling a career in professional soccer - since the former Red Bull is currently suspended by Montreal Impact, assuming the club has the right to suspend him, which (as far as we know) is a point Oyongo is vigorously disputing.
We're none the wiser after those favorites, but there was news today which may cast some light on why Ambroise appears once again ready to engage with the world: he has a shot at playing some soccer!
Oyongo was named to Cameroon's squad for its upcoming March friendlies.
If he travels and plays, it would suggest that whatever the merits of Montreal's suspension of Oyongo, it is not one endorsed by FIFA - because why would FIFA allow a player flouting his contractual obligations for his club appear for his country?
FIFA moves in mysterious ways, but the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players lays out consequences for a player found to be in breach of contract:
In addition to the obligation to pay compensation, sporting sanctions shall also be imposed on any player found to be in breach of contract during the protected period. This sanction shall be a four-month restriction on playing in official matches. In the case of aggravating circumstances, the restriction shall last six months. These sporting sanctions shall take effect immediately once the player has been notified of the relevant decision.
Any such sanctions depend on FIFA finding a player officially in breach of contract - which would require FIFA to be contacted on this matter: this hadn't happened last time we checked. On February 6, Montreal's technical director, Adam Braz, said the league was "taking matters to FIFA and to the Cameroonian Federation [FECAFOOT]". (Fun fact: the Deputy Chairman of FIFA's Players' Status Committee is Sunil Gulati, president of the United States Soccer Federation.)
FECAFOOT's position on the issue would seem to be clear: it lists the club to which each of its nominated national teamers is attached. Except Oyongo.
Hmmm. Can't be in breach of contract if you're not under contract with a club.
More hmmm: MLS currently has a tracker running for international call-ups, since players participating in international soccer is one measure of the presumptive quality of a league. Missing from the list at the moment? Cameroon's friendlies in Indonesia (March 25) and Thailand (March 30).
So, is the Oyongo affair settled? Are both sides agreeing to disagree for the sake of letting Oyongo get some training in with his national team? Or is he going to squeeze in a reconciliation with L'Impact before jetting off to Indonesia?
A recent article by Nicolas Landry for RDS reported Frank Klopas still believes Oyongo will turn up in Montreal because "he can't play anywhere else". That might not strictly be true, as the Cameroon national team could be about to demonstrate.