Hearts bid to speed up Arnaud Djoum’s return from Africa

Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum made his debut for Cameroon against Gambia last weekend
Hearts midfielder Arnaud Djoum made his debut for Cameroon against Gambia last weekend
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Hearts booked extra flights to rush midfielder Arnaud Djoum through a 4000-mile journey back from Cameroon today.

Coaching staff hope he will return in time to train at Riccarton tomorrow as preparations intensify for Saturday’s league match with Hamilton at Tynecastle.

Head coach Robbie Neilson may need to wait until Friday to have his full squad available but club officials have made a special effort to get Djoum home quickly. He made his international debut for Cameroon on Saturday in a 2-0 African Cup of Nations win over Gambia. Last night, he was in the squad for a friendly with Gabon.

Both games took place at the Omnisports Stadium in Limbe, a seaside city on Cameroon’s west coast overlooking the Gulf of Guinea. Djoum must take at least three flights from there back to Scotland but Hearts have booked extra connections in the hope he can make them on time. It might be Friday before we have the full squad together.

“It depends when Arnaud gets back,” Neilson told the Evening News. “We’ve booked flights for him to try and get him back in Edinburgh in time to train on Thursday morning. It just depends whether he can make them after the Cameroon game. It’s going to be quite tight for him. If he doesn’t get these flights then it will be late on Thursday before he’s back in Scotland. We want him back as quickly as possible because the Hamilton game is important to us. If not, we’ll just need to deal with it.

“Our priority is the club. We want a result on Saturday. Players want to go and play for their countries and we’ll never stand in their way. We will always try to help them. We just have to try and get them back as quickly as we can.”