I’m sure it’s not escaped your attention, mainly because it affects NUFC directly, but the African Cup of Nations will soon be upon us.
Held for three weeks over the winter it means that Newcastle will be without two key players for what is a hectic period of the fixture schedule.
Now that qualification is complete it looks as though we can say goodbye to Demba Ba and Cheik Tiote for around a month as the represent Senegal and Ivory Coast respectively, but is it as bad as is being made out? Sure they will be missed, but then by that very same token there are other teams who will miss their players also, right?
Well, in true NUFC Blog style, lets investigate club by club just who is likely to be missing. Call it an A-Z of African absentees if you will, and considering it’s an A-Z I guess we’d best start with the letter ‘A’.
Arsene Wenger could potentially be missing three players for the duration. Gervinho will be away with Ivory Coast, Marouane Chamakh will be away with Morocco and they could potentially be without Emmanuel Frimpong who elected to represent his country of birth, Ghana, instead of England.
Habib Beye is eligible for Senegal although it’s unlikely that he will be called up. Mind you, even if he was is doubtful that he’d be missed and his absence would only be noticed thanks to there being a bit more leg room on the subs bench. Beye had retired from international football but a call up after his retirement would suggest that he has reconsidered.
At least Steve Kean, or whoever Venky’s have in mind to run the comedy show at the time, won’t have to worry about losing any players for the African Cup of Nations. Neither Nigeria or Congo qualified which means that Yakubu and Chris Samba will remain on club duty.
Owen Coyle, like Steve Kean/whoever at Blackburn, won’t have to lose any of his players in January.
Michael Essien, if fit, will be off to play for Ghana while Dider Drogba and Soloman Kalou will be off to play for Ivory Coast. That’s three players who would walk into the majority of Premier League sides they’ll be missing.
David Moyes will not have to wave goodbye to anyone in January, not for the African Cup of nations anyway…
As above, no absentees for Martin Jol.
Drunken Dalglish won’t be missing anyone either.
Kolo and Yaya Toure will be away with Ivory Coast, and they could yet lose Abdul Razak if he continues impressing.
Mame Biram Diouf could well be called up for Senegal. Hopefully they take him ahead of Demba Ba!
As mentioned right at the start, we’ll be without Cheik Tiote and Demba Ba.
Paul Lambert won’t have to endure the absence of anyone in January.
Queens Park Rangers
Armand Traore and Adel Taarabt are likely to be called up for the Senegal and Morocco squads respectively.
No absentees for Tony Pulis either. Salif Diao hasn’t been called up by Senegal since 2010 and Mamady Sidebe hasn’t been called up by Mali since 2008.
Widow Twankey won’t lose any of his players either thanks to Egypt and Benin failing to qualify for the competition. That means that Ahmed Elmohamady and Stephane Sessegnon will be available for selection by Mrs Doubtfire, assuming he still has a job. I hope he does as he is doing sterling work.
No worries for Brendan Rodgers as he has no African players on his books.
Sack face Redknapp will have no calls up to put up with. Cameroon failed to qualify which means the Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong are safe whilst Togo’s failure to qualify means that Emmanuel Adebayor won’t have to make his way to Gabon/Guinea in January.
Roy Hodgson be spared the absence of Peter Odemwingie and Youssuf Mulumbu and Nigeria and Congo failed to qualify.
Mohamed Diame will more than likely be called up for Senegal after making his international box earlier in the year. He’s appeared for his country three times since. Steve Gohouri could get a call up for Ivory Coast although it’s unlikely, although Victor Moses is safe as he plays for Nigeria.
George Elokobi has been called up for Senegal but has yet to receive a cap. He may get called up in the winter.
So you see there are many players who could be missing in January, some of who are key for their clubs. I look at the likes of Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers who will be missing players from their starting XI and compare them to us.
Sure it will be tough, but we’ll have to manage just like everyone else has to manage. To make matters worse there is another ACoN just a year later in 2013 which makes things tricky for those with players who represent African nations.
Something needs to be done about it. Not just for the Premier League, but in general as the competition sits smack bang in the middle of the regulation football calendar. I’ve never been to Africa, but I’d say it’s a safe bet that it’s damn hot in the summer, so moving it to then is kind of out of the question. Mind you, in certain parts of Africa it’s hot all year round don’t you know!
Education over, now I guess we’d better discuss how we are going to get around losing Tiote and Ba for a month or so at the turn of the year. Also, fans of other clubs may pop on and give us their views.If they see anything wrong or see someone that I’ve forgotten then shout it up.
Who is going to start off?