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Playing again after heart ailment is a victory – Cameroon forward Tagueu

6:54 PM GMT+8 25/10/2019
Joel Tagueu Maritimo
The 25-year-old returned to the field on Sunday after battling a heart condition that ruled him out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Cameroon forward Joel Tagueu has described his return to football as a victory after recovering from a heart ailment.

The Cruzeiro attacker made his first appearance in over five months as a 77th-minute substitute in his side’s 2-1 victory over Corinthians in the Brazilian top-flight on Sunday.

Tagueu was dropped from Cameroon’s squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, a day before their campaign opener against Guinea-Bissau due to an "anomaly of an implantation of a coronary artery".

His exclusion reduced the Indomitable Lions squad to 22 players as the country crashed out in the Round of 16 stage of the continental showpiece in Egypt.

Following his recovery from the battle against the heart problem, Tagueu described his return as a dream come true after various medical consultations.

"It's been a very difficult moment for me. I've had to wait for a month to get a final decision on my situation," Tagueu in his first public comments, per BBC Sport.

"I've had to consult several cardiologists across Brazil to get different opinions and I've been working with the best cardiologists in the country and I'm glad that everything went on well.

"Being able to play again is a victory and being able to suit up for my team is just like a dream come true."

The 25-year-old spent last season on loan with Maritimo where he returned eight goals after 30 matches in Brazil’s Serie A.

Tagueu recalled his reaction to his omission from Cameroon's 2019 Afcon squad and revealed how Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu and France’s Eric Abidal inspired his fight against the heart condition.

"I was shocked when I was dropped from the Cameroon squad for the Afcon in Egypt. But I was less anxious because the doctors were calm and said it was curable," he added.

"But other players in the past like Kanu or Abidal have undergone surgery for other health issues and have continued playing so I'm not worried."

Meanwhile, Cruzeiro team doctor Sergio Campolina said the club recalled the Nkongsamba-born forward because he is back in top shape after approval from two of Brazil's most renowned cardiology institutions.

"The medical protocol with the Cameroon team is different and because recently they lost a player due to heart related complications, they decided to drop Joel," Campolina said.

"We have assurances about Joel's health so we've decided to recall him to the team and we're happy with this decision.”