24
Feb
08

Africa Cup Of Nations Peeve

No this isn’t going to be an article asking why it’s played when it’s played. I am going to bitch about people bitching about when it’s played.

This came about as I was watching Barca dismantle Levante (hooray! Sorry Levante fans and Madrid fans who were Levante fans for a weekend) and one of the announcers on Gol! TV Rafael complained about Eto’o missing time and saying that the Africa Cup of Nations (ACON) should be played in the summer so it doesn’t interfere with the “European season.”

Now, I am sure there are many in Scandinavia who are sad to hear that they are no longer part of Europe since their season doesn’t occur during this so called ‘European Season’ that Rafael talked about and aren’t affected by the ACON.

He claimed that the ACON should be played during the summer. I have to ask: “Are you fucking insane?”

This year the tournament was in Ghana. If it was held in the summer, the ‘normal’ humidity reading in Ghana is well over 85% and the temperature is pretty much guaranteed to be in excess of 80-85F with much higher temperatures being common combine that with the humidity and you have less than ideal conditions to be playing in during the day….and Ghana is a relatively cool place by comparison to some of its neighbors.

Now imagine playing in the summer in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia or any other nation that lies mostly in the Sahara desert. As you may know, it’s not a desert because it’s cold. Do they simple get left out of the chance to host their continent’s tournament? Should it always go to Ghana and South Africa since they are about as close as you are going to get to non-oven temperature/humidity combinations?

Sorry, for me the tournament is just fine where it is. I hear people whine and bitch about MLS scheduling games during international dates and they should. However, their ire should be raised that the “European Season” keeps on running through the ACON as well then, but it’s not.

Look around the top leagues in Europe and the top teams in those leagues. What do you see? A lot of African players right? Right. Now if they are going to make millions upon millions on these stars, it seems the least they can do is take 3 weeks off for their tournament or shut up and not bitch when it comes around and let them play for the glory of their country.

I know the argument is ‘but these clubs pay them big money {{growl}} {{grrrrr}}” and that is true. However, there is a fund now to compensate clubs for players who are injured so the argument is a bit weak now.

Lastly, football (soccer) has always been and international sport. Part of the charm of the game is that there are international competitions every year and every couple of months we get individual one off games between nations. There is no other team sport I can think of that does this. It’s a truly unique experience. Basketball could do it if the NBA wasn’t so protectionist (sound familiar European club defenders?) in its desire to not have players injured which is why the game doesn’t explode into a firmer place as the #2 sport in the world.

So let’s take it easy on Africa. Every federation has their championship let Africa have theirs. I mean listen, if MLS ever becomes a dominant league, would you like to hear fans hear bitch about the World Cup and European Championships coming in the middle of the season when European players have to leave for international duty? It could happen as MLS isn’t changing to a fall-spring sked any time soon unless they take a 2-3 month winter break, as Toronto and Chicago are colder than any place in Europe that plays during the ‘European Season’ by a fairly large margin and they aren’t the only cities that get past that pain threshold. I don’t think anyone would think much of fans bitching about that. They would say the very things I say to you now: let them have their championship when it works for them.

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