كتب : عمر عبد العزيز | الثلاثاء، 26 يونيو 2007 - 22:38

CAF calendar upsets the whole world

No doubt that the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) is facing a major problem with other parties concerning their continuous failure to execute an organized fixtures system.

The African governing body previously used to justify their abnormal scheduling as coping with the Dark Continent schedules and circumstances, but now the situation is getting out of control.

African and non-African nations seem to suffer with the season fixtures, and the harm is going beyond now hitting the African players themselves who are now shouldering the burden of their national teams.

The African Nations Cup

The top African country competition is played every two years in January, a date which clashes with almost every league competition in the world.

This means that Europe-based Africans should leave their clubs, in a very critical period, to represent their countries in Africa's premier sports event.

The result has its negative effect on everyone, the club, the country and the players, and at the end almost every party suffer a notable loss.

Cameroon and Barcelona ace Samuel Eto'o explained the situation clearly when he begged CAF to reconsider the timing of the tournament last week.

"This is a huge problem, I don't think the problem is between the national team and the club, but rather it belongs to the people who plan the calendar," said the Cameroonian marksman.

"They have to make it smoother and plan it in such a way that both parties are satisfied. It is pointless to limit the possibilities of the best players so that others can play."

Eto'o's comments follow a similar message to the CAF from Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who asked for a rethinking to solve the case as well.

"We have to try to reach an agreement with the nations so clubs don't suffer too much when players leave," Mourinho said at the start of June.

Mourinho has five Africans in his Chelsea roster, as Ivorian duo Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, Ghana's Michael Essien, Nigeria's John Obi Mikel and Geremi Ndjitap of Cameroon will all leave in a very important stage of the season.

The Portuguese manager threatened to quit signing Africans if the problem persists because it will be compounding his own problems.

Club vs. Country saga

A number of African footballers playing in Europe are now facing the challenge of choosing between their bound clubs and their home countries, a case which keeps them in a very confusing situation.

The bizarre CAF schedule puts the players in a dilemma, where a player have to make one of two bitter choices: to play for his club and be labeled as a 'traitor' in his homeland or to drop down his club, which could be very critical to his club career.

And recently FIFA took a very weird decision putting ahead clubs' interest over nations when they ordered Mali, who had a crucial encounter in the African qualifiers, to let go their players Frederic Kanoute and Mahamadou Diarra to join Sevilla and Real Madrid in the final round of the Spanish Premier League.

"It is not normal what they have done with my country," Kanoute said.

"They changed the rules and discredit my country because it is African and not European. It is revolting what FIFA has done. They couldn't resist the pressure from Real Madrid."

The results; the CAF calendar created a problem with an honestly 'biased' world governing body (FIFA) and the African parties, which were particularly furious.

It is confusing who should be blamed for such situations, but for sure the players and the fans are the last to be questioned.

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