Cameroon's Gaël Ondoua Wears Russian Flag on his Boots at World Cup

Cameroon midfielder Gaël Ondoua has attracted media attention for wearing playing with the Russian flag alongside the Cameroon flag on his boots.

Gaël Ondoua Wears Russian flag on boots

Hanover 96 midfielder Gaël Ondoua is currently representing Cameroon at the World Cup in Qatar, but has hit the headlines for the personalisation on his boots rather than his performances. Like many players, Ondoua has the flag of his homeland printed on his boots. Alongside it, he also has the Russian flag.

In most cases, both inside and outside the footballing world, bearing the flag of a country other than your own is intended as a political statement. Russia themselves were banned from the tournament by FIFA because of their ongoing war in Ukraine. Ondoua's boots have therefore raised questions, and posted the following message on Telegram to explain:

“I see a lot of attention to my boots. Just in case, I want to emphasise that the Russian flag depicted on them is a sign of respect for the country in which I grew up, formed and received a football education. My relatives live in Russia and they are always with me. This is our home. I have been playing in boots with the Russian flag for many years and I am not going to break this tradition.”

Ondoua was born in Cameroon's capital city, Yaoundé, but moved with his family to Russia as a child when his father got a job in the Cameroonian embassy. He speaks fluent Russian and is a Russian citizen. He came through the Lokomotiv Moscow academy and played for a number of clubs in Russia before moving to Servette in Switzerland and then his current club, Hanover.

FIFA have stated that because of his background, Ondoua's use of the flag is justifiable and therefore he will not be punished.

What do you think of both the player and FIFA's decisions regarding the Russian flag? Comment below.