However, only in the next season. The African Football Confederation confirmed that they will be changing their calendar with games for National teams happening from January to February from 2021.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lamented the change of calendar of the African Cup of Nations, as he counts on three important players from the African continent: Egyptian Mohamed Salah, Senegalese Sadio Mane and Guinea International Naby Keita.
The last edition of the African Cup of Nations, last year in Egypt, took place between June and July, a novelty in relation to the history of the competition, which was always played at the beginning of the year, during the European football season.
On Wednesday, the African Football Confederation confirmed that the Cameroon 2021 edition of the African Cup will again be played in January and February.
Jurgen Klopp gave his opinion on the terrible news for him: I can’t respect the African Cup any more than I do because I like the competition. But it is an obvious problem that you play a tournament in the middle of the season. The African Cup of Nations coming back to January is a catastrophe for us. Furthermore, we have absolutely no power, so if we say “we don’t want to release him”, the player is suspended – said the German.
- How is it possible that a club that pays the player cannot decide whether he will stay or not? But I talk about it here and nobody will listen. It’s like the biggest waste of time in history. As long as nothing changes, I’ll say it all the time.
- Historically, the African Cup has always been played at the beginning of the year to take advantage of the milder temperatures on the continent during this period. However, it was a major inconvenience for European clubs, especially in France and England, countries where most African players play.
It’s surely a massive blow for every European side who counts on African players, but mainly to the Reds, who counts on three players among the continent’s Top-10 Best Players.
Klopp even said that due to these changes he, alongside Liverpool, will reconsider signing players from Africa. But he added that they won’t be selling Sadio, Salah nor Keita.