Africa Nations Cup: Stars Owe Their Nations

Africa Nations Cup: Stars Owe Their Nations


Life is a continuous journey where valleys and hills cannot be left out. Amidst all these though people dream of attaining the best in life. But one thing for sure is that unless you put the dream into reality, then one cannot achieve what he/she would have loved to be.

By Lambert Rusoke
more from author >>
First published: January 21, 2006


Many African players had dreams in their earlier years of playing football and one of those was playing for their national teams and then a lucrative move to the paid ranks in Europe. Thankfully many of the footballers that will be participating in the Nations cup in Cairo have had part of their dreams fulfilled, but some were in the confusion of choosing whether to play for their nations, which was one time a dream, or stay in Europe and feature for their club-the second of dreams, giving rise to the Club vs. Country battle that has left the concerned parties pondering what could be the best solution.

The Nations Cup which kicked off this week and national federations are insisting that since the CAN is as big a tournament as comparable to say Euro, it is very important in the eyes of African football and therefore there is a need to have all the best players in Africa turning out for their countries. However the clubs who are the employers of these players claim that when these stars leave for the tournament, their respective clubs will suffer a dip in form at such a crucial point of the season, and yet its such African stars that these clubs rely on, for example Etos goals for Barcelona cannot be left unmentioned.

One thing we should not erase in our minds is that most African stars in Europe were spotted while playing for their native countries and its at such tournaments that clubs send their scouts to get the best from Africa. I dont see any reason why players should find it hard to choose between their country and club. East or West, home will always be the best so the adage goes, and players like Henry Camara who dons Senegal colours on his wrist while turning out for his club, cannot find any hardships in deciding which one to prefer.

When Yakubu Ayiegbeni opts for Boro ahead of Nigeria in the pretext that he is fighting for his place at club, I beg to disagree. If one is good, then the few weeks that he will be away will not deter his talent, after all he would be doing the same thing that he would have done at club-kicking a ball. Remember the best players Africa has had, the likes of George Weah, Abedi Pele who managed to come down here and help their countries-there was no way they lost out their places in Europe after they went back, simply because they were very good.

Unless clubs can afford to fly players between the tournament like Weah in SA 96-something that few can do, then the idea of signing African players should be incorporated as a risk in the business especially in years that have the Nations Cup calendar in between. Countries like Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa all failed to make it to Germany leaving their fans bitter, the only way they can revive their souls is performing at the Nations Cup, and there is no way they can do it without their best players.

Africa deserves to see a very exciting tournament, full of talent and not dented because Europeans clubs have retained our players. For others its about feeling at home, and am sure people like Marc Zorro who turns out for Italian outfit Messina, will not have to shed any more tears because of racial abuse.

It is in Africa where many initiated their dreams, and therefore they have to give its natives the best of football. I go for pride by donning my national colours.

By Lambert Rusoke
more from author >>
First published: January 21, 2006
Lambert Rusoke is a student at Makerere University Business School.
rlamptey2003@yahoo.com.