AFCON in January is bad for African players as well as Arsenal


Good day Gooners. Hope we have moved on emotionally and mentally from our stalemate against Sheffield United over the weekend? Tomorrow, we are playing Chelsea at the bridge; I believe we can get a positive result from that game.

Last week it was reported that the African cup of nations, AFCON, was going to be moved back to January for next year’s cup of nations in Africa. This plan to move the competition was initiated by the Cameroonian FA, in conjunction with the confederation of African football, CAF. Cameroon, who are hosting next year’s competition, wants the tournament to be played in January because by June/July, the country may likely experience heavy rain falls. With this excuse, they may be justified after all to move the tournament backwards, right?

Arsenal and a whole lot of Premiership teams, have African players playing key roles in their teams. I won’t want to talk about the players in other teams; I will just focus on our darling team, Arsenal.

At Arsenal, we have Nicolas Pepe and we have Pierre Aubameyang as the two senior members of the team. If the competition was to be moved back to January for next year, then we may lose the services of one of our best wing player, Pepe, and our most lethal finisher, Aubameyang. I believe that with Arteta as our coach, next season will be a massive improvement on this season. Auba and Pepe will be integral members of the first team next season. If their countries should qualify for the AFCON, we may lose them for up to six weeks! Losing them for six weeks is not even a problem to me; what will hurt me the more is if they return from the AFCON with injuries. We need competitions for these players, but fixing a competition in the middle of a league, is bad.

Besides, if the CAF finally decides to move the tournament back to January, it will affect the careers of African players, as no club will want to invest in a player who may be absent for six weeks.; Arsenal seem interested in some players of African origin playing for her soon; Koulibay is a typical example of a player with African origin. If the plan to move the tournament succeeds, Arsenal may think twice before buying Koulibaly or other wonderful player with African origins.

What am I trying to say here; simple! All I am saying is to plead with the CAF not to move the AFCON as it will affect the careers of wonderful players from African which includes our own Auba and Pepe.

Sylvester Kwentua

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