Monday, November 19, 2007

Nigeria Cup of Nations Plan to Affect English Clubs


English Premier League clubs will not be too happy with Nigeria's plans ahead of January's African Cup of Nations.

Nigeria plans to call up their players a full two weeks before the African Cup of Nations begins in January. This will affect several English Premier League clubs.

Those set to lose their African stars for up to six weeks include Newcastle United, Portsmouth, Chelsea, Manchester City, Sunderland, Everton and Wigan Athletic.

Nigeria's team manager, Berti Vogts, announced his plans and made it clear that attending the training camp will not be optional for players, but mandatory.

Former Scotland boss Vogts, a World Cup winner as a player with (West) Germany, told the Liverpool Echo: "That is the way that things have to be and there will be no exceptions.

"There will be a two-week training camp and all the players will be there.

"They will not be allowed to arrive later."

The Premiership players likely to be called up for the Nigeria squad are: Joseph Yobo, Victor Anichebe and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton), Kelvin Etuhu (Manchester City), Dickson Etuhu (Sunderland), Nwankwo Kanu and John Utaka (Portsmouth), Obafemi Martins and Celestine Babayaro (Newcastle United) and Julius Aghahowa (Wigan Athletic).

The Cup of Nations is a great boon to Africa. But it affects all the major football leagues. When will the governing body of African football see fit to move the Cup to a more appropriate month? Will there come a time when clubs don't allow players to suit up for their countries? It's a very interesting club vs. country debate that isn't going away any time soon.

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