As the African Cup of Nations gets underway in Ghana this Saturday, objecting voices over the tournament’s timing are coming thick and fast from the English Premier League. No fewer than thirty-four players have left UK shores for the competition, which runs until February 10. Between now and then three full weekends of Premiership fixtures, in addition to fourth round FA Cup ties and Carling Cup Semi-Final second legs, are to be played.
Aston Villa, Derby County, Manchester City and Wigan Athletic are the only clubs not to have a representative in Ghana, while other teams are Dominoqq facing up to reality of losing between three and four first team players. Only time will tell if the African Cup of Nations is to have any serious ramifications in the championship race, relegation dog fight or battle for European qualification places. One thing is for sure though, the league’s managers will refuse to hide their distain for the international competition until each and every one of their African stars are back in England, fit and ready to put on their club jerseys.
One of the strongest objectors to the African Cup of Nations being played in its current calendar spot is Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. The French manager has lost three key first team players to the tournament, at a crucial time when the Gunners find themselves level on points with Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table. Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue are to represent the Ivory Coast while Alex Song will be playing for Cameroon. Their departure will leave a major gap in the north London side’s defence as they prepare for a weekend trip to Fulham and Tuesday’s Carling Cup Semi Final, second leg against rivals Tottenham. Arsenal’s only relief is that top goal scorer Emmanuel Adebayor will be staying in London as his Togo side failed to qualify for the tournament.
Wenger has called for the African Cup of Nations to be held just once every four years, rather than biennially and that it should be played in the …Read More