African nations becomes clearer
This weekend has given us a clearer, well virtually a full picture, as to who we are 'potentially' going to be missing when the African nations comes round...
Algeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast had already secured a place.
Egypt, 'should' we be looking to sign any players, are also assured of this now.
Morocco cannot make it to the African nations or the world cup so this 'might' decide the international future of one of our players, for the time being at least?
Whereas Nigeria confirmed a place on Sunday.
So, with Algeria off this means that we will almost certainly be without Nadir Belhadj and most probably without our on-loan Benfica midfielder Hassan Yebda. Belhadj scored in a win over the weekend with Yebda making his Algerian debut as a sub. A world cup place can be secured next month.
Ghana going will 'probably' mean that we will be without the impressive Kevin-Prince Boateng. He has opted for Ghana over Germany and would be a surprising omission from their squad I would feel - he would also have a 'good' chance of going to the world cup as well, something that Ghana have also secured.
Ivory Coast affects us if Aruna Dindane is recalled into the squad, which I would imagine is very much possible if he can stay injury free for us and perform to the best of his abilities that made him a regular before his injury - I would very much suggest we prepare for him being away to be honest...
Egypt 'might' affect us, which for me makes the likelihood of Amr Zaki signing even slimmer - these recent 'rehashed and reused reports' are nothing more than that for me, and The News' reporting of them today is, again for me, completely out of context. Zaki is merely fishing for a move back to the premier league and any 'promises' he might have got, yet again for me, will not be backed up now as SAF does not carry enough away with his 10% anymore... With Zaki away for the African nations I would not sign him anyway, we need players to play a full part in the New Year and throughout the second half of the season.
As far as I am aware Younes Kaboul has not decided on his international future yet? 'If' this is going to be with Morocco then we have no concerns about the African nations, at best they will finish 3rd in their qualifying group with qualification hopes long gone, they also cannot make the world cup, which 'might' make his decision easier? A good season 'could' even see that French call-up come? Like I say though, either way we will not lose one of our most important and influential players.
Nigerian secured their place on Sunday as well so this means we will be without Kanu and John Utaka - assuming both are called-up? I would suspect that Kanu will, but he seems to have fallen away from the our 1st team anyway, and Utaka is completely out of the picture at the moment, although with players away and 'if' he does not get called-up he may have a part to play for us?
As we seem to have a habit of signing African footballers should we be on the lookout for anymore in the New Year then avoiding those from Cameroon, Gabon, Tunisia, Mali, Benin and Burkina Faso would be advisable, as these nations will also be involved, although having looked into Burkina Faso a little more the top scorer in the competition plays for them Moumouni Dagano. An international strike rate of almost 1 in 2 game with similar kind of record with Genk and Guingamp in previous years is not bad for the 28-year-old currently playing in Qatar. That said the premier league is a much different proposition to Belgium!
So, there you have it the 'complete' African nations round-up as far as I can see, I think?
This leaves us facing the possibility of losing 6 players currently in our squad, the 'bonus', if you can call it this is that it appears that only 50% of them are what you would call 'key 1st team players', the problem is they appear to be very much key players and Boateng would be very much missed as could potentially Yebda and Dindane!
Share your thoughts on all the above below as usual guys...
PLAY UP POMPEY!