The Cameroonian left-back is still refusing to report to the Montreal Impact, as a dispute over his transfer to MLS continues to cause confusion.
Cameroon left-back Ambroise Oyongo has been embroiled in bizarre contract dispute between MLS, his former club and his national FA for over a month now and, as a report from Once a Metro has underlined, it’s tough predict when it will end.
Oyongo, 23, spent the 2014 season on loan with the New York Red Bulls from Cameroonian outfit Rainbow FC, before the MLS side announced his permanent purchase this winter following a promising debut campaign, in which he recorded three assists in 13 appearances.
The nine-times capped international was then traded to the Montreal Impact along with Eric Alexander a few weeks later, however, in a deal which the team made in order to acquire the league’s top allocation spot for signing US midfielder Sacha Kljestan from Anderlecht.
Competing at the African Cup of Nations at the time, agent Nicolas Onisse launched a scathing attack of the deal in an interview with L’Equipe, arguing that his client had been dealt without his consent, despite that being far from uncommon in MLS.
Adding that Oyongo had turned down offers from Europe, including Celtic, in order to remain with the Red Bulls, Onisse said: "It's not at all what had been agreed. It's not fair, not right and incomprehensible.
“Transferring a player without telling him, without asking his opinion remains a serious problem in MLS.”
FECAFOOT, the Cameroonian FA, then waded into the argument, claiming that Oyongo had signed an amateur contract with Rainbow FC, not a professional one, meaning both his transfer to the Red Bulls and subsequent trade were invalid.
Now Once a Metro have obtained an interview with claimed Rainbow FC vice president Raymon De Vera, who insists that Oyongo was registered as professional with the club and will keep fighting with FECA Foot to end the dispute over his transfer.
“Rainbow FC as any club has the right to scout and secure the rights to the best talent it could find,” he said. “It approached Oyongo as a free agent and the player agreed to sign for the club following independent legal advice. The opportunity came from the MLS and Rainbow FC decided to transfer the player who was extremely keen on the move at the time.
“Rainbow Sports Investments has NO contract with Oyongo and is NOT a third party owner to the rights of Oyongo or any other player.
“Rainbow FC has been in contact with FECAFOOT regarding Oyongo and has made clear it will defend its position vigorously.
“Do we see an end in sight? Yes. The player has an employment agreement with Major league Soccer which he has to respect and the ball is firmly in his court.”
Once a Metro also received pictures of Oyongo’s Rainbow FC registration card for the 2013-14 season, although De Vera’s role as club president is still to be 100 per cent verified.
Regardless, with the promising defender still refusing to turn up in Montreal, this latest twist goes some length towards highlighting the weirdness of the whole situation.
One might suggest that his reluctance to join the Canadian side is the main issue causing developments since the trade from the Red Bulls but, until we know more, it’s difficult to speculate.
There of course remains a chance that Oyongo is deemed a free agent, leaving him free to sign with one of his reported pursuers such as Celtic, although it looks more likelier at present that he will be forced to head back to MLS, if and when the saga is resolved.