No sympathy from me...
As has been my thinking in previous years when the African nations came around, I have no sympathy for us when we 'bemoan' the fact that we will be losing players in the New Year when the latest African nations tournament comes round...
We know all to well that when we sign African players they will invariably be jetting off to African every other year - whilst I still feel the scheduling of this tournament is wrong, and should not take place during a season, we know it will so you cannot have too much sympathy for us, and others, that will lose players!
Granted we pay their wages, but we cannot stop them from going can we...
So, Paul Hart telling The Star that this is something he 'highlighted' recently means little really: 'I brought it to people's notice a month ago, because it will take the spine out of the team and could be a difficult situation.
'I think Boateng wants to play for Ghana, so I couldn't stand in his way.'
In spite of this Hart says we will not be 'splashing out' on players: 'we have priorities for January if we do anything in the transfer market. But who is to say that January is a good time to buy players anyway? Historically it's not.
'I'm not so sure it is the best time, so it is not as simple as just getting a load of money and splashing it.
'Who is going to let their best players go in January, so what do you actually end up getting?'
In all honesty I am not expecting too much activity transfer wise in January anyway - we do need to bring in 2-3 players, but anyone thinking we will be spending much will 'probably' be disappointed.
'Potentially' losing Hassan Yebda, Nadir Belhadj, Aruna Dindane, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kanu and John Utaka will be a setback, well, maybe not Utaka! But we knew the players that we had would be going, and the Africans we signed 'could' do the same as well
Our priority must be to get as much as we can from the players that we have now between now and the time they set off - keeping ourselves 'in touch' with those above us, or potentially above us, was always what we had to do.
We took a 'calculated risk' on these players, who - lets be honest - were players that others did not want, 'perhaps' even due to the fact they would be heading off in January, but this was something we had to do.
It was always a 'cross that bridge when we get to it' scenario for me, but we cannot start 'bemoaning' this loss now - it was always going to be a problem, lets just make sure we can look to minimise this as much as possible by getting as much as we can out of the next 2-months, this is what should be our focus, the rest will have to take care of itself, it will have to...
PLAY UP POMPEY!