Saturday, January 19, 2008

Should the African Nations Cup be moved?

The international cry is that the African Nations Cup should be moved from January to the summer. That is because the timing robs the European clubs from their African players who are some of the most prolific goal scorers and defenders in their European leagues. Even stars like Drogba, Essein and Eto’o have voiced to the international unison in support for a change of date. The recent high profile voice is that of the president of FIFA: Sepp Blatter.
Football again has shown that the world does not care about Africa; all they care about is the money that comes to them. In other words, they look at the money that their workhorses bring to them and it bothers them that they are taken away for two weeks. Moving the competition in summer will destroy the taste of football because it will be during serious torrential rains in Africa. It will be in the heart of the Raining Season especially in countries with tropical moist climates where there are heavy rains all through the summer. There are very few countries with closed pitches and stadiums. It is true that Latin America has almost the same climate like Africa but they have benefited from huge sponsorship from European clubs that some of them have very good stadiums.
Some teams have even coaxed their African players from colluding with their medical staffs to fake injuries. That is where patriotism plays second fiddle to money. Somehow no one should blame them when we know how corrupt most African governments are. If a player was hurt while playing for his or her country many at times he or she is abandoned to themselves to fend it out. A player who sustains an injury or is killed during a game playing for his or her country is no different from a soldier who dies at the war front defending his or her country because both are paying their allegiance to their countries.
Therefore, to make a win-win situation, FIFA should sponsor about five countries in other to build for them roofed stadiums so that in the heart of the raining season the pitches will still be usable. That way FIFA and CAF will now direct all the money they give to nations for World Cup preparations to be used towards the reconstruction of their stadiums. Sponsoring about five countries will enable Africa get ready in Ten years time for every country to build at least four roofed stadiums. Notwithstanding, most African countries are very rich enough to build more than ten roofed stadiums but they lack maintenance and good management. Let this call by FIFA and African players be a motivating factor for African countries to build top class stadiums like their counterparts worldwide if they want to be taken seriously.

Until then, let indolent CAF and African Federations rise up.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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