Why should AFCON be postponed instead of European club matches?

The controversy surrounding the timing of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the audacious call for postponement by European clubs has further deepened the sense of superiority held by these countries against Africa. The big question is: Why should a tournament as big as the AFCON be postponed to serve the interest of few European club matches?

Clubs across Europe have ganged up to call for the postponement of the African Cup of Nations to protect their interest because the departure of key African players they depend on will affect their performances; however, these clubs have adopted an approach which seems to subject to inferiority, the AFCON which is a much-cherished tournament among Africans.

For the clarity of doubt, just like the European championship with no drama, the African cup of Nations plays a significant role in the lives of Africans. It solidifies our bonding, brings families and friends together, projects our collective talents and a sense of pride.

The AFCON sees a congregation of Africans from diverse cultural backgrounds across the continent coupled with the patriotic diaspora-based players who chose to represent their nations. This further helps us to understand and embrace each other. Apart from these factors, the AFCON serves an important economic purpose.

Out of insensitivity to these prevailing factors, European clubs whom have been on the necks of football’s governing body, FIFA seem to prioritize their businesses ahead of the inherent relevance of the AFCON to the African people.

The conversation has so far been one-sided calling for the postponement of a tournament as huge as the AFCON whilst none of these clubs have suggested to the same FIFA to rather postpone the few club matches scheduled to be played during the AFCON period as a way of of negotiating on a mutual ground.

As at now, clubs across Europe are still hesitant to release African players for fear of losing matches rather than considering the bigger cost to the people of Africa. If the AFCON poses so much threat to European clubs due to the quality of players departing, why not simply postpone the matches?  

Clubs across Europe will lose the likes of key players such as the Egyptian sensation Mohamed Salah, Guinea’s midfielder Naby Keita, Sadio Mane of Senegal, Riyad Mahrez of Algeria, Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy who is of Senegalese origin.

Others include Ghana’s Thomas Partey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabonese origin, Nicolas Pepe, Wilfried Zaha, Cheikhou Kouyate, Jordan Ayew among others. This will seriously affect the performances of clubs across Europe, hence the relentless efforts from the clubs to stop the tournament.

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