Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright following a sturdy controversy that is hinted to demine the credibility of the African Cup of Nations that is scheduled for January in Cameroon has hit out at the Western media as well as some of the football coaches in England and other bodies over their reluctance in releasing players to represent their country during the prestigious African tourney.
Ian Wright who has been a keen activist in helping to do away with racism lashed out at the disrespect meted on AFCON competition and has asked for the right thing to be done.
“Is there ever a tournament more disrespected than the Africa Cup of Nations?” quizzed Ian
In the middle of a pandemic, we played our Euros across 10 countries and there’s no issue at all. But Cameroon, a single country hosting a tournament, is a problem, its amazing sometimes when you listen to some of the interviews between the western media and the African players and I have always objected to players being asked whether they intend to play for their countries added Ian Wright.
African players over the years have been scouted into these same European teams while participating in the African Cup of Nations as well as gives others the platform to showcase their talent not only to western world but to represent their nation.
” The questions you would never hear a journalist asking a western player are the questions they champion with African players. You are getting journalists asking players getting asked if they will be honouring the call-ups to their national teams. Imagine if that was an English player representing the Three Lions. Can you imagine the furore?” said Ian
This has been a norm and many teams have had to survive without their African players during the AFCON season and it is unbelievable why some people all of a sudden want to change this. Several of the top players in the Premier League are set to miss club games in January to take part in the tournament.
Liverpool who are eyeing the EPL trophy this season will be without Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Guinea’s Naby Keita with this manager Klopp asserting the AFCON to be a ‘Little tournament’.
Patrick Vieira who is still building his team stated clearly he will not hold any African player back showing respect to the AFCON tournament. Crystal Palace will be missing Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Ayew and Cheikhou Kouyate.
Patrick Vieira in his previous comment regarding the AFCON stated, “I respect and understand the passion and the importance to players to go and represent their country so I will never stop any player going to play the Africa Cup of Nations and I will call on the western media to cover the event more seriously, maybe then they will understand the passion and importance of the AFCON tournament.”
In his closing remarks, Ian Wright added, “the players and countries deserved more respect. Loads of the best players in Europe right now are African, if we love them at club level why can’t we love them at international level like their counterparts across the globe? Why is this tournament constantly getting so much flak?”