Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

watch listen BBC Sport BBC Sport
Low graphics|Help
Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 18:28 GMT
Clubs want African Cup rethink
By Nabil Hassan

2008 African Nations Cup
Sulley Muntari
GROUP A: Ghana, Namibia, Guinea, Morocco
GROUP B: Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Ivory Coast
GROUP C: Egypt, Sudan, Zambia, Cameroon
GROUP D: Tunisia, Angola, South Africa, Senegal
Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Jordan has backed calls for the African Cup of Nations to be staged in the summer.

Pompey are set to lose five key players during January and February next year, but Jordan feels this could be avoided.

"I don't know all the arguments behind staging it at that time, but from our point of view a switch to a summer date would suit us," Jordan told BBC Sport.

"It would benefit a lot of clubs with African players and give the players and coaches more time to prepare."

The African Cup of Nations is traditionally staged in the first two months of the year because of the continent's unpredictable weather conditions in the summer months.

The rainy season hits western and central Africa in June and July, while the weather in South Africa, which will be hosting the 2010 World Cup in those two months, is usually cool.

Former Chelsea striker and BBC Sport's Gavin Peacock has little sympathy for those clubs affected by the loss of African players for the 2008 tournament, which will be staged in Ghana from 20 January to 10 February.

"They know when they sign African players every two years a large proportion of them will be missing," Peacock told BBC Sport.

Everybody wants the African Cup of Nations to be scheduled to suit the European calendar

Chelsea manager Avram Grant

"I'm sure if it could have been switched, they'd have done it by now.

"The tournament needs to benefit African football, not European football and if that means it's played in January and February then it needs to be played then."

Despite the loss of those five players, Jordan says Portsmouth are not put off signing African players.

He said: "We're signing players from Africa because of their ability and at the moment that far outweighs the handicap of losing them for a few weeks."

Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari, who is due to play for Ghana in the 2008 tournament, also supported switching the tournament to a summer date.


"That's something I feel will benefit everyone and stop all the problems," said the Ghanaian midfielder.

A 2006 survey of African players revealed 79% (204) of them were playing for clubs in 21 countries within Uefa.

At that time English clubs attracted 9% (24 players) but that figure has risen to over 40 in the last year.

Chelsea are perhaps the most high-profile club in the Premier League affected by the 2008 tournament and are set to lose four players, including striker Didier Drogba.

Their manager Avram Grant is a firm advocate of a summer switch.

Benjani and Kanu
Kanu (r) is one of five players Pompey will lose

Grant said: "I think everybody wants the African Cup of Nations to be scheduled to suit the European calendar, but it doesn't depend on me.

"We need to think about this. When they started the competition there were not so many players playing in Europe.

"Now the Africans have many players in the Premier League and in other leagues - and in my opinion it will be even more in the next few years.

"So we need to think about this because it's not good for the players or the clubs. It would be better in the summer but I cannot change it, I can only say my opinion."

Premier League players likely to be playing in the 2008 African Nations Cup:


Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue (Ivory Coast), Alexandre Song (Cameroon)


Richard Kingson (Ghana), Mehdi Nafti and Radhi Jaidi (Tunisia)


Aaron Mokoena (South Africa)


El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal), Abdoulaye Meite (Ivory Coast)


John Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana)


Joseph Yobo and Ayegbeni Yakubu (Nigeria), Steven Pienaar (South Africa)


Nabil El-Zhar (Morocco), Muhammed Sissoko (Mali)


Mohamed Shawky and Mido (Egypt)


Obafemi Martins (Nigeria), Geremi (Cameroon), Abdoulaye Faye and Habib Beye (Senegal)


Papa Bouba Diop (Senegal), Nwankwo Kanu and John Utaka (Nigeria), Sulley Muntari (Ghana), Lauren (Cameroon)


Andre Bikey (Cameroon), Emerse Fae (Ivory Coast), Ibrahima Sonko (Senegal)


Dickson Etuhu (Nigeria)


Hossam Ghaly (Egypt), Didier Zokora (Ivory Coast)


John Pantsil (Ghana), Henri Camara (Senegal)


Salomon Olembe (Cameroon), Julius Aghahowa (Nigeria)

  • Aston Villa, Derby County, Fulham, Manchester United and Manchester City currently have no involvement in the African Nations Cup.

* Watch the 2008 African Nations Cup, live on the BBC.

Nations Cup guide
21 Oct 07 |  African
BBC award shortlist announced
03 Dec 07 |  African
African football dates
19 Nov 07 |  African
Anichebe to miss Nigeria Cup bid
11 Dec 07 |  African
Pienaar: Everton feels like home
12 Dec 07 |  African
Ivory Coast pick injured Drogba
11 Dec 07 |  African
Pompey's Traore dropped by Mali
11 Dec 07 |  African


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily and weekly e-mails | Mobiles | Desktop Tools | News Feeds | Interactive Television | Downloads
Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

Help | Privacy & Cookies Policy | News sources | About the BBC | Contact us | Advertise with us