Former Arsenal and Manchester City forward Emmanuel Adebayor has hit out at European clubs for their latest attempt not to release African players for the 2021 AFCON.
The AFCON is scheduled to start in a few days’ time on January 9, 2022 in Cameroon, but the European Clubs Association (ECA) has already communicated its reluctance to release players.
Since COVID-19 emerged, a number of African nations have found themselves battling to secure their top stars for friendlies and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, with some clubs in Europe having attempted to stop players from representing countries in “red list” zones.
Earlier this month, the ECA, which includes the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain among its 234 members, wrote to FIFA expressing concerns about AFCON and threatening not to release players for the showpiece.
In their statement, the organisation claimed that Cameroon cannot guarantee the safety of their stars amid a recent outbreak of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Adebayor, who played in a number of AFCON tournaments for Togo himself, has now blasted European clubs for their attempt to stop players from featuring in the prestigious African competition.
“There is no coach in the world that can prevent me from playing at the AFCON,” he said, per GHANAsoccernet.
“It’s disgusting that some persons are trying to prevent the African players from playing at the AFCON.”
Meanwhile, European clubs are expected to release the invited players from 27 December, according to the rules of the tournament, although some exceptions may be made for certain players to arrive a few days later.