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LATEST: Patrick Viera Asks European Clubs To Respect AFCON

Crystal Palace manager and former Arsenal captain, Patrick Vieira, said that there needs to be more respect when discussing the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

With the Africa Cup of Nations set to start in less than one month, on January 9, 2022, several rumours surged suggesting that the tournament might be postponed or even canceled.

The rumors have only gotten stronger as FIFA president Gianni Infantino backed the idea of postponement, believing it would be better if the AFCON is played in September.

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Additionally, the European Club Association sent a letter to FIFA in which they explained why they’re reluctant to send their players to compete in AFCON, with their main concern being the lack of a suitable medical and operational protocol in the tournament.

Vieira believes that the journalists and people discussing whether or not AFCON should be held, don’t even know the importance of this tournament for Africans.

He added by saying he could never deny his player the chance of representing his country, despite probably losing three Crystal Palace players during that period.

“I respect and understand the passion and the importance to players to go and represent their country so I will never stop any player going to play the Africa Cup of Nations,” the Senegalese born said.

“I believe that that competition needs to be more respected – because this competition is as important as the European Championships.

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“It might be important for you guys [the journalists] to cover the Africa Cup of Nations a little bit more and to go to Africa and interview people to really understand what it means for every single one of them.

“When you are talking about Senegal I don’t think people would really understand if (Sadio) Mane or Cheikou Kouyate didn’t represent their nation. If there was more coverage of that competition I think people will understand more how important it is for the African continent,” he concluded.


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