Tony Tchani, Ambroise Oyongo and Anatole Abang called-up by Cameroon for Africa Cup of Nations qualifer

Tony Tchani, Columbus Crew SC

Columbus Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani, who made his US national team debut in January, was one of three MLS players called to Cameroon’s squad on Thursday for their upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa.

Montreal Impact left back Ambroise Oyongo and New York Red Bulls forward Anatole Abang were also named to the 27-man roster to face South Africa on March 26.

Tchani, who was born in Cameroon but has been a US citizen since 2013, was called up by Cameroon for a pair of World Cup qualifiers last fall during the MLS Cup Playoffs, but had to turn down the invitation due to a nagging hamstring injury. The 26-year-old midfielder participated in the USMNT’s annual January camp earlier this year, making his international debut when he played 19 minutes off the bench in the Americans’ 3-2 win against Iceland on January 31.

Because the Iceland match was only a friendly, Tchani remains eligible to switch to the Cameroonian national team. He won’t be permanently tied to either country until he appears for one in a non-friendly match – an appearance Africa Cup of Nations qualifier would bind him to Cameroon.

Oyongo, 24, has six career caps with Cameroon’s senior team and went the full 90 in both of their World Cup qualifiers in November. He’s made 36 appearances since moving to MLS in 2014, spending one season with the Red Bulls before being traded to Montreal ahead of the 2015 season.

This is the first time Abang has been called up to Cameroon’s senior team. The 19-year-old striker has played for the country’s U-17 and U-20 sides, and scored four goals in 17 appearances with the Red Bulls in his first season in MLS last year.

Through two matches, Cameroon is in first-place in Group M of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. Each team plays six total qualifying matches, with the 13 group winners and the top-two second-place teams set to join hosts Gabon at the 2017 tournament.