Tuesday, September 26, 2023

AFCON: Should FIFA Consider Its Timing For Hindering Club Football?

Must Read
Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

The 31st edition of African Cup of Nations has begun and several top-flight outfits are sweating over the departure of their key players who have joined the national camps to represent their countries. The timing of the tournament might be an irritant to most of the fans, particularly in Premier League; however, there is a reason behind such awkward scheduling.

AFCON is one of the most prestigious events which is highly celebrated in world’s second largest continent. Unlike the other international competitions, AFCON is played in winter, during January-February, when the domestic leagues are usually in paramount phase. Tournaments like FIFA World Cup, Euro Cup, Confederation Cup and Copa America all undergo in June-July when there is a break in club football, thus the footballers can concentrate and fully focus on their international duty.

While the players have to compromise their club commitments, many raised questions why FIFA has sanctioned the tournament midway the football calendar and proposed them to review the scheduling. However, in Africa it is too hot during summer and the climate is adverse and unfavourable for hosting any footballing event. Thus, the governing authorities have no choice either and the clubs in Europe have no option but to let their players leave due to international fidelity.

Is there any other solution? Ibrahima Sonko, the former Reading and Senegal defender might have a case here.

Normally when you get to April, everyone knows where they are in the league. They should probably put the African Cup in May, so people can play as long they as they can with their clubs and then just allow them to leave a bit earlier.

Sonko suggested in an interview with the Guardian a few years back. Nowadays, top flight clubs across the globe own a number of key African footballers who play a pivotal part to decide the fate of their respective sides during the closing stages and leaving early might jeopardise that. Thus there is no easy solution and the clubs must start finding alternate strategies to deal with this undesired crisis.

AFCON 2017 is hosted by Gabon and will commence from 14th January. The final is scheduled on February 5 at the Stade d’Angondjé. As a result the likes of Riyad Mahrez (Algeria), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon) and Sadio Mane (Senegal) will miss out a few crucial outings for their respective clubs.

Premier League is arguably set to be the most affected among all other domestic competitions in Europe’s top five leagues. Mane’s absence is going to be a major setback in Liverpool’s title hopes whereas, Eric Bailly, Manchester United’s £30 million Ivorian centre-back along with Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez (both Algeria) of Leicester City, Idrissa Gueye (Senegal) of Everton, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha (Cote D’Ivoire) and West Ham forward Andre Ayew (Ghana) can be termed as the major Premier League absentees for AFCON.

Follow Our Tweets On Twitter

Latest News

Araujo, Balde, Gavi And Raphinha To Start | 4-3-3 Barcelona Predicted Lineup Vs Mallorca

Barcelona will clash heads with Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium this Tuesday night as they look to grab maximum...

More Articles Like This