European Clubs Threaten to Stop African Players From Participating in 2022 AFCON

European Clubs Threaten to Stop African Players From Participating in 2022 AFCON, Babajide Orevba
December 16, 2021 at 8:25 PM
  • Clubs in Europe are concerned about next year's AFCON tournament in Cameroon over fears surrounding its Covid-19 approach
  • The showpiece, which was already postponed last year due to the health crisis, is scheduled to take place from 9 January
  • Several Premier League and Ligue 1 players are in the running to represent their respective countries

Rumours are abounding that players who are set to represent their nations at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) may be stopped from doing so by the European Clubs Association (ECA), which represents leading clubs across the continent.

The continental showpiece is scheduled to kick off in Cameroon on 9 January and run until 6 February, with several Premier League and Ligue 1 players in the running to run out for their respective countries.

France, England, Europe, Ligue 1, Premier League, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain, Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, Tournament, Cameroon, Sadio Mané, Mo Salah, Riyad Mahrez, Achraf Hakimi, Idrissa Gana Gueye
European clubs are likely to block players from heading to AFCON 2022. Image: Fethi Belaid/ AFP, Khaled Desouki/ AFP
Source: Getty Images

Among the cohort of African stars are Liverpool's Sadio Mané and Mo Salah, Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez, and the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) duo of Achraf Hakimi and Idrissa Gana Gueye.

KickOff reported that the ECA has sent a letter to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)'s Deputy General Mattias Grafstrom in which the association expressed its concern over the tournament and specific Covid-19 guidelines which have not been met.

Rising concerns over Omicron variant

"The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has not yet made provision for suitable medical contingencies, among other things, for the Afcon tournament, in the absence of which clubs will not be able to release players for the tournament," read an ECA statement.

AFP reported the ECA also raised concerns about the likelihood of players being unavailable for even longer periods due to the potential for travel restrictions or mandatory quarantine requirements in light of the new Omicron variant.

"Domestic club competitions are due to take place until early January for clubs in England and France that are expected to release players. Hence, the overlap of the 2022 Afcon release dates (with call ups from 27 December) is unmanageable,” the statement continued.

Bafana star Percy Tau bags another individual award in Egypt

In other news, previously reported that Bafana Bafana star Percy Tau continues to impress since his high-profile move to Egyptian giants Al Ahly three months ago.

'The Lion of Judah' has done so by walking off with yet another Egyptian Premier League Player of the Week award on the heels of his latest goalscoring exploits for Al Ahly, according to KickOff.

Tau currently leads the way atop the league scoring charts after netting a brace in Al Ahly's 4-1 triumph over Smouha on 25 November. After a brief stint of struggling to hit his stride, his latest efforts have upped his tally to five goals in just six appearances for the Red Devils so far this season, News24 reported.

The 27-year-old's heroics further ensured that Pitso Mosimane's side's perfect start to the season remained intact ahead of being recognised with his second individual prize in Cairo in the past six weeks.

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Babajide Orevba
HOD- Local Desk
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