Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned that the decision to move the African Cup of Nations back to January could have major consequences.
Previous cups had been scheduled during January, right in the middle of the league season for most European clubs, meaning that there was always a clash between African nations who called up players for the tournament, and their club sides, who did not want to release them at a busy time of year.
This year the African Football Federation moved the tournament in Egypt to June, in a bid to harmonise with the rest of the international calendar. However, with the next tournament scheduled to be paid in Cameroon, it has been moved back to January because it is too hot to play football in the West African country in the summer.
However, with Liverpool set to lose the likes of Mo Salah, Sadio Mané, and Naby Keita for up to six weeks, Klopp has warned that his club and other Premier League teams, will think twice about buying African players in the future saying “The African Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe.
‘It doesn’t help African players. We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby just because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not – but if you have to make a decision about bringing in a player it is a massive one because before the season you know for four weeks you don’t have them.”
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.