News

Arsenal and Liverpool to benefit? AFCON tensions erupt after joint-club letter regarding release of players

Arsenal and Liverpool to benefit? AFCON tensions erupt after joint-club letter regarding release of players

Tensions rise as clubs delay release of players bound for AFCON

The frustrating timing of the African Cup of Nations has once again come to the light after it was reported that clubs across Europe intend to hold their ground regarding the release of players destined to partake in the mid-season tournament.

Set to begin on 9 January and hosted by continental giant Cameroon, AFCON 2021 comes at a time when players are overburdened and overworked more than ever.

According to Associated Press global correspondent Rob Harris, the Worlds League Forum – an umbrella organization for domestic leagues across the globe – issued a statement to FIFA and CAF saying that players that are set to feature just after the new year will not be released until 3 January by clubs that have fixtures before that date.

This comes in defiance of FIFA’s statement that players should report for national team duty on 27 December. For Premier League clubs, that would mean players were to be made to report for duty just after Boxing Day, and in some cases, miss fixtures in the immediate aftermath during a hectic festive period in England.

Arsenal & Liverpool set to benefit?

Should the WLF’s stance be upheld, the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool could make the most of the delay in the release of six combined players between the two clubs that are set to have leading roles for their respective countries between 9 January and 6 February.

For Arsenal, the delayed departures of Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, and out of favor former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes as good news should their arrival at AFCON be temporarily delayed. Particularly regarding Partey and Elneny, who are key central figures for Ghana and Egypt respectively. Equally, the Arsenal pair comprise a considerable portion of a thin midfield cadre under Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal and Liverpool to benefit? AFCON tensions erupt after joint-club letter regarding release of players

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Partey of Arsenal turns away from Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 26, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Once the central duo departs, that leaves Arteta with just Granit Xhaka, youngster Sambi Lokonga, and fringe option Ainsley Maitland-Niles for a month given the assumption that Ghana and Egypt will make deep runs in a tournament where both nations are two of the favorites.

Liverpool is in a similar fix regarding a trio of stars set to miss time with Jürgen Klopp. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, and Naby Keïta are leading lights for Egypt, Senegal, and Guinea.

The absence of two key figures in a glistening front-three for the Reds this season could potentially scupper the club’s chances of hunting-down Manchester City at the top of the table, but their inclusion for just a little longer could make the difference in the end.

Aminat Aigbe

Aminat Aigbe is the first lady of afronaija and a very good blogger ( Original Mrs AfroNaija )

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.