The 30th edition of the African Cup of Nations, kicks off in Equatorial Guinea, after Morocco’s refusal to host the event, due to Ebola’s epidemic threat. There are 16 countries involved in the competition and 11 of them are french-speaking; is this why there are five french coaches plus ten other “francophone” ones.
France’s Ligue 1 is the leading supplier of players for this year’s AFCON. Currently, there are 55 participants, while Spain the second one, provide only 25. Needless to add that during the competition, many french clubs will be without their key players, as Metz (-7) and Lyon(-5).
This large number of African players can be explained not only by the historical, economic and sporting reasons; African footballers are affordable for the french clubs, because they are cheaper to get and because of the Cotonou Agreement, allowing 4 African players, per french club. In other countries, like England, laws are more restrictive( when not EU native) and clubs are often obliged to seek elsewhere, like South America and often buy players twice their worth.
Accepting to organise such a big event, just a few weeks before the official start of the competition, was for the country a big challenge; some unavoidable blunders were expected, thus the angry comments, of some participants in the media:”The bus in which my players and I were en route to the Stadium for the opening game, was caught in a big traffic jam, but the police refused to help us out of it” declared to Le Monde, the french coach of Congo, Claude Le Roy. “We arrived half an hour late (one hour before kick-off and not an hour and a half, as usual) and without air- conditioning the team suffered a lot. It’s my 8th AFCON participation, but I never saw that before !”
Nevertheless, the profit-making business of gadget sales has began and thriving, for many of Equatorial Guinea’s neighbour countries’ fans are coming to take part to the feast. Gadgets like cow-boys hats, small hand flags and key holders(all of them made in China) are in constant demand.
So let’s the fun begin and don’t forget to wave your flags! Here’s some of very promising and worth watching players, chosen by @jeuneafrique.com .
Chancel Mbemba(RDC) – Idrissa Gueye(Senegal)- Ferebory Dore(Congo)- Islam Slimani(Algeria)- Jonathan Pitroipa(Burkina Faso)- Gervinho(Ivory Coast)- Ferjani Sassi(Tunisia)- Clinton Njie(Cameroon)- Mustapha Yatabaré(Mali)- Darrel Kent(South Africa)-Brahimi(Algeria)