Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cup of Nations Schedule Won't Change Soon

The African Cup of Nations falls smack in the middle of the European season.
As we've long reported, not too many footballing powers on the continent are happy about it.

Well don't expect things to change anytime soon.

Although future Nations Cups may start earlier in January to accommodate the complaints of European clubs, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) says it will not change the frequency or timing of the event.

"It is not even a matter for discussion," CAF general secretary Mustapha Fahmy told Reuters on Tuesday. "The tournament will stay as is it is. Even coaches from big European clubs, like Arsene Wenger and Laurent Blanc, have made it clear they understand that when they sign an African player there is a chance that every two years he will have to go to the Nations Cup," Fahmy added. So true ...

But to be fair to the European giants, CAF may start the 2010 finals in Angola one week earlier, officials said.

The next three tournaments are already set.

The 2012 finals will be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon and 2014 will be played in Libya.

Nigeria have been designated as reserve hosts for the 2010, 2012 and 2014 tournaments should one of the proposed hosts be unable to fulfill their obligations.

The timing of the Cup, which falls in Europe's mid-season, where most of the players ply their trade, has been heavily criticized by players and coaches, including the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Michael Essien and El Hadji Diouf.

CAF president Issa Hayatou has repeatedly said the Nations Cup cannot be moved to June or July because of the rainy season across central and western Africa.

The 2008 Nations Cup in Ghana runs from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10.

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