It has developed into some kind of a tradition that every year, when the African Cup of Nations takes place in January, Chelsea come out moaning about the effect it will have on their team with a number of players leaving their club duty to represent their countries in it’s continent’s most important competition.
But surely this was taken into account when people like Didier Drogba and John Obi Mikel were signed. It looks even more pathetic considering the amount of African players who play in France, but have the French clubs ever moaned about it?
The big clubs (Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, PSG) have approached this matter very smartly. Whilst Bordeaux might have missed their best goalscorer Maroune Chamakh, to their luck the Moroccan side did make it to Angola 2010.
Marseille can also count themselves lucky. Senegal haven’t managed to build on their World Cup debut success of 2002 as they missed out on South Africa 2010 and also didn’t make it to the African Cup of Nations finals. Otherwise, Mamadou Niang, who recently caused havoc for AC Milan in the Champions League, remains at his club, alongside one of the league’s best centre-backs Souleymane Diawara. Bakari Kone (Ivory Coast) and Stephane M’Bia (Cameroon) will be the only notable absentees.
Lyon will also strengthen the Cameroon side. Jean Makoun is a key player for the Indomitable Lions. But with recent attitions to the squad in Miralem Pjanic and Michel Bastos, the midfield should be able to cope without him.
From the top teams, The African Cup of Nation’s will hit PSG the hardest. Their, and one of the league’s star players, Stephane Sessegnon is even a bigger star for Benin.
Smaller clubs can’t afford to build a big squad and take into account players nationality, so this is where it gets interesting.
Moussa Nary, who has been one of the keys to this season’s success for Auxerre, has been in and around the Ghana team, and might be called up for Angola 2010. Defender Adema Coulibaly looks certain to get a call from Mali, while Amadou Sidibe also made his debut for his nation last year and has since then picked up 8 caps. Amara Morike Kalle made his debu this year and might be rewarded for his development with a call up.
Injuries aside, Boulogne‘s Bakary Soumare has been ever present for the, at the moment second from bottom, team and also made his first games for Mali this year, after finding out he won’t be eligible for US citizenship for at least two years. The players moved to America at a young age and played for Chicago Fire, before making his move to Boulogne past summer.
Alaixys Romao, who plays for Grenoble, who picked up their first win of the season last weekend versus Toulouse, has part of Togo’s World Cup squad 2006 and might get the nod again for a finals squad.
Le Mans will provide Gabon their nr.1 goalkeeper, Didier Ovono. The 26 year old has also been nr.1 for his club side, though two other keepers, Rodolphe Roche and Georgian Giorgi Makaridze, have also got 2 league matches behind them.
Lens central defender Ala Eddine Yahia has shown great from for his team this season and that might also see him picked for Tunisia. Goalkeeper Hamdi Kasraoui in Tunisia’s nr.1, but he plays second fiddle at his club to Croatian Vedran Runje. Stiker Issam Jemaa is also more than likely to be part on the Tunisian side for the tournament taking place 10-31 January. Talented midfielder, 20 year old Samba Sow recently made his debut for Mali. Kanga Akale is in frame for a place in the Ivory Coast squad.
Lille‘s Pierre Aubameyang, who’s on loan from AC Milan, scored on his debut for Gabon pack in March. A very talented young striker. He looks certain to get a call up, with not much to choose from for Gabon. Teammate Aurelien Chedjou has been part of recent Cameroon squads, while winger Gervinho recently bombarded down the flanks for Ivory Coast in a friendly against Germany.
Lorient‘s Yazid Mansouri is ever present for his club and Algeria. Jonas Sakuwaha is one of the few Zambian’s playing in Europe. Whilst he’s not a regular at his club, he could be missed when injuries hit.
Monaco‘s Nicolas N’Koulous started for Cameroon in a recent match versus Morocco. Jean-Jacques Gosso played for Ivory Coast in the 2:2 draw with Germany. Same with Igor Lolo, even though the defender doesn’t get regular action for his club.
Montpellier, this season’s surprise package in Ligue 1, currently sitting second, is a another club who’ll strenghen Tunisia. Midfielder Jamel Saihi has been a regular in the squad after making his debut this year.
Alongside Bordeaux, Nancy are another side, who can count themselves lucky, that Morocco didn’t make it to Angola 2010, with a number of key players part of the squad, including Youssouf Hadji, one of the league’s most prolific scorers. Only absentee might be striker Paul Alo’ Efoulou, who made his debut this year for Cameroon.
Nice‘s central defender Onyekachi Apam is most likely going to be selected by Nigeria, while striker Mickael Pote is one of the few Benin players playing at a high level. Eric Mouloungui is a key player for Gabon. He hasn’t featured much for Nice, but he will be missed. Midfielder Emerse Fae was part of the Ivory Coast squad in 2008 African Cup of Nations. Chaouki Ben Saada is in frame for Tunisia. Mamadou Bagayoko is a experienced Malian stiker, who recently has made his come-back to the international side. Habib Bamogo made his debut for Burkina Faso this year. Defender Drissa Diakite is in frame for a place in the Mali squad
Sochaux, Rennes and Saint-Etienne are one of the few sides in France that doesn’t rely on African players so much. Each most likely only to provide one player for the Africa’s most important tournament. Rennes star Asamoah Gyan is also starring for Ghana. Saint-Etienne‘s stiker Boubacar Sanogo has an impressive international rate for Ivory Coast with 12 caps and 8 goals. Sochaux‘s Yassin Mikari is an important member of the Tunesian team.
Tunisia also gets a valuable member from Valencienne in Fahid Ben Khalfallah. The club, who currently are 3rd in the League 1 table, will also give up Siaka Tiene, who’s one of the most experienced players in Ivory Coast’s squad.
Toulouse are the only team in Ligue 1, alongside the title challengers Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille, who doesn’t rely at all on African players and will have nothing to worry about in January, when the 2010 African Cup of Nations takes place in Angola.
African Cup of Nations 2010 groups:
Group A: Angola, Mali, Algeria, Malawi.
Group B: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso.
Group C: Egypt, Nigeria, Benin, Mozambique.
Group D: Cameroon, Tunisia, Zambia, Gabon.
You can follow the latest ACN 2010 updates on Soccerlens.com.