The first and most annoying thing Newcastle United fans should know about the Africa Cup of Nations is that it’s happening two years on the spin. We had one in 2012, and spent a couple of months without Demba Ba, Cheik Tiote and a newly signed Papiss Cisse, and now in all their wisdom the tournament organisers have decided we need one in 2013 as well.
There are a number of reasons we’ll be treated to consecutive tournaments with the main one being that currently the tournament coincides with the World Cup every four years, which is obviously less than ideal. Now the tournament will take place on odd numbered years meaning we won’t get this conflict and when left with the decision to wait until 2015 for the next competition, or have consecutive tournaments, the latter was considered preferable.
So who will we lose?
The tournament is scheduled to take place between the 19th of January and the 10th of February 2013 meaning that whoever we lose will be gone just under a month almost straight after Christmas – less than ideal to say the least.
The men we are most likely to miss, Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, both play for Senegal who are one of the better African nations when it comes to footballing talent. If Senegal make the tournament proper it’s going to leave us seriously light upfront and although history suggests Mike Ashley won’t buy during the January transfer window if we don’t we’re in for a torrid time without our two main strikers.
Cheik Tiote is another African born player who is one of the first names on the Ivory Coast team sheet. Should the Ivory Coast make it to the tournament proper we’ll certainly miss Tiote, assuming he hasn’t been sold by then, but losing him is much less of a problem than losing Ba and Cisse in terms of attempting to cover holes in our squad.
If Algeria make it to the 2013 African Cup of Nations we’ll also be without youngster Mehdi Abeid but thankfully I’m pretty sure we can cope with this.
It’s not all doom and gloom…
Although quite frankly it sucks to be losing anyone half way through the season, the 2013 African Cup of Nations isn’t all bad news for us – in fact there’s some resounding good news for us, and for any other team who happens to have a player or two that might otherwise have bee called up for action halfway through a season.
Firstly the qualifying draw for the 2013 tournament was extremely kind for us; Senegal and the Ivory Coast have been drawn against each other. They’ll play out over two legs during current international breaks and the loser won’t make it to the tournament proper.
The first leg was played last night with the return being scheduled in October and whilst Papiss Cisse was on target for Senegal he couldn’t prevent his side from slipping to a 4-2 defeat meaning Senegal have it all to do if they are to progress to the competition proper in the winter.
Secondly along with moving the tournament to non World Cup years only, the plan is also to move the tournament to June/July dates which don’t coincide with the European league calendar. Basically after the 2013 tournament we, or any other club for that matter, shouldn’t be left in a situation where we lose players to their country mid season.
To be honest there’s probably more good than bad coming out of the 2013 African Nations for us Toon Army fans; we could get to keep both Ba and Cisse but if we lose them we keep Tiote, and we should never be in this position again!« Happy Birthday Speedo | Could the Premier League ever operate regionally? »