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SportHeartsHearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum is targeting Africa Cup of Nations - but...

Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum is targeting Africa Cup of Nations – but could miss Old Firm clashes


Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum admits he is dreaming of representing Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations – even though he could miss three important club matches.

The 27-year-old helped Hugo Broo’s side reach the tournament after making his debut in last month’s 2-0 qualifying victory over Gambia.

Djoum is back in the squad for Sunday’s World Cup qualifier away to Algeria and is keen to impress head coach Broos ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which runs from January 14 to February 5.

Arnaud Djoum 1000pxShould the 27-year-old, who was born in Cameroon but raised in Belgium, be included in his country’s squad for the Gabon-hosted tournament, Djoum could miss matches against Celtic, Rangers and Motherwell.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson could also be without left back Faycal Rherras, with Morocco also having qualified.

Djoum would love the chance to play in the continent’s biggest footballing competition.

He said: “We’ve qualified for the African Nations Cup so now I have to make sure I play well for Hearts and hopefully do enough to get myself in the tournament squad.

“I’ve played two games for Cameroon. The first one was the final African Nations Cup qualifier against Gambia, which we won 2-0.

“In the second friendly match against Gabon, I played in the first half and we won 2-1.”

Djoum, who scored his first goal of the season in Friday’s 3-1 victory at Motherwell, admits international football is a lot more slow-paced compared to what he is used to in Scotland.

The playmaker, who joined from Polish side Lech Poznan in September 2015, added: “The style of play is very different with the national team.

“Scottish football is very intense and end-to-end, but playing for Cameroon means you have more time on the ball.

“The team you play against are more compact, they sit tight and wait. Maybe only in the last 30 minutes do they start to press you.

“Technically it is very good but they don’t do the 90 minute pressing like they do in Scotland.

“So, for me it was easier to play for them because in Scotland you get no time on the ball.

“As a midfielder you want as much time on the ball as possible, so yes playing for Cameron was more comfortable.”

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