If you didn’t know better, you’d think that this African Cup of Nations was a sneaky bastard. How dare it creep up on the Premier League clubs without them finding out until too late?
What? There’s an International Calendar for FIFA events? Damn…
Ok, but the sheer audacity of this tournament! How dare it disrupt the ‘Greatest League In The World’? What? 54 countries? A whole bloody continent? What the…
You know, I get it – teams are hamstrung by the African Cup of Nations because they lose key players over a very important period of the season. But here are several ways this ‘shock’ could be avoided, or minimised:
- PLAN FOR IT! Bring in cover for key African players on short term loans or prepare players from your reserves to step in when necessary. Injuries? Well that sucks, yea, but no matter how good you are at injury prevention these things happen, and you need to be prepared with a contingency plan.
- Have a winter break – what a novel idea! A winter break will give non-African players in the Premier League some much needed rest and allow recoveries from injuries. It would also reduce the pressure on clubs during the ACN (the next ACN starts 10 days earlier in a bid to make it easier for European clubs to handle the biennial exodus).
- Keep Blatter and the press out of the decision-making process – sometimes it seems that the press pounds on a supposed public sentiment and Sepp Blatter, ever eager to do what the ‘people’ want (remember him telling the Australians that Italy did not deserve to be champions?), jumps on the bandwagon and proclaims it as his own idea. He did with the England manager post, he did with quotas (although that was more to do with following Platini) and he’s done it with the ACN. He can’t be trusted to make a decision for the good of the game, just as you wouldn’t trust the tabloids.
CAF (Confederation of African Football) says that the weather precludes playing the tournament in the summer. Why? Because unlike Germany (where a lot of players complained about the heat during the day / early afternoon matches), most of the African nations are quite close to the equator, and if you missed your geography lessons it’s bloody hot there in March, let alone June.
Unless everyone decides to play in South Africa every two years (somehow I doubt it), it can’t happen in June. The timing, whilst a tad bit unfortunate, is the best one.
Some have said that the frequency of the tournament should be reduced. Initially I thought the same thing – a tournament every four years would have been better, right? Except that the African nations have come across an excellent formula for developing the beautiful game across the continent and using it to bring countries and cultures together (and yes, there’s the economic aspect as well, which for a relatively poor continent like Africa is a GOOD thing). Every 2 years is good, and African football needs it.
“We put a target for 2016 that by that time the international calendar must be definitely in accordance with the interests of everybody.”
You mean the Europeans, surely?
Blatter continues to insist that by 2016 the ACN should be held in June and July – how the FIFA president can show such a disregard for local weather conditions is beyond me, but then again, this is Blatter and FIFA, it’s about par for the course.