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Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Nations Cup leaves Grant baffled

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant
Avram Grant is baffled by the timing of the Africa Cup of Nations

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant says he is still baffled that football's world governing body, Fifa, allows the Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in January.

The Premier League club could lose Aruna Dindane to Ivory Coast and Kanu to Nigeria, while Nadir Belhadj and Hassan Yebda are in the Algeria squad.

"I'll say it again - I don't know why Fifa allow this," he said.

"I don't know why they have the Nations Cup in January, the players go two weeks before and need time to recover."

Portsmouth are also under a transfer embargo and so face the possibility of not being able to bolster their resources next month and the situation has left Grant fuming.

"We pay a lot of money, especially the big teams, to players who are not with us for two months. I think Fifa need to think about this," he said.

"Firstly, you have to change the team and secondly, it's not easy when they are back.

"They are coming from hot weather to the coldest days in England. It takes more than a few days to get them back to normal."

Grant went through the trials of losing players to the Nations Cup during his season as Chelsea boss in 2007/08.

He admits he will attempt to delay his Pompey quartet's departures until after their Premier League game at home to Arsenal on 30 December.

"We will probably lose the players next week after the West Ham game," he said.

"We will try and speak with the (national) teams and maybe it will be after Arsenal, but I don't think they will agree."

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see also
Algeria names Nations Cup squad
17 Dec 09 |  African
Grant Hails Kanu in Pompey win
06 Dec 09 |  African
Premier League set for African exodus
15 Dec 09 |  Premier League
Sunderland 1-1 Portsmouth
12 Dec 09 |  Premier League

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