European football clubs have expressed concern with the moving of next year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) from June to January.
The Confederation of African Football decided to move the tournament to January, due to harsh weather in the hosting country, Cameroon, in that period of the year. The move has attracted unsatisfactory reactions from European clubs arguing they risk losing their top African players at the crucial time of their domestic leagues.
Liverpool is one of the teams which is not happy with the move. The club’s mentor Jurgen Klopp was quoted by the media on Saturday as saying, the move is catastrophic. His team has three African players, Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohammed Salah and Guinea’s Naby Keita.
Should their national teams qualify for the tournament, it means Liverpool will miss their services at a crucial time of the English Premier League. Considering that their nations are AFCON regulars, they have high chances of qualifying.
Other top teams which could be affected are Manchester City which has Algerian playmaker Riyad Mahrez, Totenham Hotspurs which has Ivory Coast defender in the name of Serge Aurier, and Paris Saint Germain which enjoys the services of Senegal’s Idris Gana Gueye.
The continental tournament was shifted to June last year to avoid the conflict with European leagues. According to CAF, the 2021 edition has only been moved to January in the interest of weather, hence it is not a permanent move.