6th January, 2022
By Agency Report
Former Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has called for more respect for the Africa Nations Cup (AFCON) which enters its 33rd edition on Sunday.
The 2021 edition holding in Cameroon has been hampered by the coronavirus crisis.
This has led to more moans than usual from European clubs, who have seen top players jet off for the tournament with squads already depleted by the pandemic.
“The timing of the AFCON in the middle of the season is certainly a factor, but you have to accept that there are international competitions that are not necessarily played in June,” German Rohr told dpa on Thursday.
“The Nations Cup deserves more respect. In terms of sporting value and popularity in Africa, the tournament is a highlight of international football for me.”
The tournament, which runs until Feb. 6, had been due to take place in June and July last year but was moved forward to January because of the hot Cameroonian weather.
It was then postponed a year due to the pandemic.
The likes of Egypt star Mohamed Salah will be badly missed by his club Liverpool, but Rohr believes it is time Europeans had some perspective.
“For Europe, Africa is sometimes a bit far away,” Rohr said.
The 68-year-old had been in charge of the Super Eagles since August 2016 but parted ways with the federation in December.
His Nigeria side finished third at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, won by Algeria.