Imagine walking in to your boss’s office one day and informing him / her that you were taking a number of weeks off.

Not only that, but that you expected to be paid the entire time you were absent and that it was likely that you’d be returning relatively exhausted and will therefore need to be eased back in to the working environment.

It’s likely that it wouldn’t go down too well.

However, that is the situation facing a number of managers and coaches from leagues across Europe as players depart for the Africa Cup of Nations which begins in Angola on 10th January.

Chelsea will be without Didier Drogba until early February

The competition takes place every two years but unlike the European Championships or World Cup, it comes not at the end of the season but slap bang in the middle.

Of course there is that old saying that ‘in life, you get what you pay for’. So any team buying an established African international knows full well that he’ll be upping sticks once every two years to play for his country. But does that make it right? Indeed, with the EPL in mind, whilst we know that the title can’t be won over Xmas and the New Year it is however when the big teams start their long push to the finish line. It can’t be made any easier with your star player(s) not available for selection.

2008 africa cup of nations

Egypt won the title in 2008

Should Fifa allow this to continue? Well, seemingly, President Sepp Blatter has already said things need to change. Last year, he stated that he wanted the tournament to be held in either June or July by 2016, to fit in the international calendar.

But there are problems with this. The timing would preclude many countries in Central and West Africa from hosting the competition as these months occur during their rainy season and if the tournament were to remain biennial, it would have to be moved to odd-numbered years so as not to coincide with the World Cup. Mind you, the bigger obstacle could be that CAF have long resisted any change on the tournament timing.

So that’s the subject of the latest Footy Boots debate. Should the Africa Cup of Nations stay in it’s now traditional January time slot or should Fifa and CAF move it so it no longer clashes with the European season?

Cast your vote below and also drop us a comment and let us know how you feel about it. [poll=31]

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  1. says: jimbob

    this is what happens when you buy African players!! the clubs no it and that should be that. why should things have to change to suit the domestic comps. if we held a home nations cup (and we should) it would be in the summer because it would suit our domestic f.a.’s so we should respect there’s and leave them to it.

  2. says: Mati

    i find it extremely disrespectful that european clubs STILL argue over this, treating the ACN like a second class competition, whilst sending scouts over there to get a scoop on the next big thing coming out of africa…thats hypocritical. this should be a moment in which youth players are given a chance. look at barca, they upgraded 4-6 youth players in anticipation of yaya toure and seydou keita’s departure…more of that, less complaining! and i cant believe the polls are almost 50-50

  3. says: kuuku

    I don’t see why it needs to be in the summer. All the posts above have good points and I echo them. ACN needs more respect than it is currently being given.

  4. says: MisterBroom12

    There are reasons that the competition is held in January, one of them is surely not to make things difficult for clubs with African players. Asking an entire football association to change their most prestigious tournament so that a few players don’t miss 6-10 games in a domestic competition is ludicrous. Nothing should be changed just because FIFA doesn’t find the Cup of Nations as important as a few league titles.

  5. says: Deen

    Raising this debate YET AGAIN is idiotic. Do you realize how ridiculous the weather is in most African countries during the summer months? Not to mention the hypocrisy that Mati mentioned…

  6. says: Eric

    well first of all, i believe you’re taking the metaphor a little too far. they won’t need to be “eased” back, and it’s really not like they’re taking off. if they were truly taking off, they would not be fit coming back, but they will be, barring injuries, etc.

    additionally, the african federation shouldn’t be complaining about june/july being “rainy season” when players/teams/fans in england are subject to harsh conditions pretty much throughout the whole season.

    while i understand both sides of the argument, i vote to move it.

  7. says: Barriecuda

    Yeah, I think ACN doesn’t get much respect by Europe & Big Club football, and I don’t think there’s a solution that can be worked out. Even if you had the event every odd number of years, players would be burning out. Imagine Song playing a season for Arsenal while going through qualifiers, then a summer of ACN, then another season, then a summer of World Cup… etc.

    European clubs just need to respect that the world doesn’t always revolve around their needs.

  8. says: Alex

    The ACN is a competition that is meant to be on the same level as the euro championships but it isn’t given the same respect. It is not on par with some tri or home nations cup. The ACN starts out with over 50 national teams and is massive for these people.

    It shouldn’t be during the main footballing calendar for most players. it hasn’t been moved because of convenience and money simple as that. Fifa’s downfall is not the fault of the African players, African players are fantastic and vital for the sport just as Asian, American and European players are.

  9. says: Alexander

    Just for argument sake say Spain or Portugal had a game which fell on or so near to a Barca or Real game that Xavi and Ronaldo had to choose which game they would play in, are you trying to tell me they would choose their clubs hahah every player who is fit and on good terms with their nation team would be off with their country. Dont blame africans for choosiong their country.

  10. says: Hugh

    have u ever been to africa in the rainy season???? not the best conditions to play footy in. Pitches would get waterlogged it would be a logistical nightmare to try and organise a tournament in the african rainy season.
    we have the euro’s they have the african cup of nations. the reason we can make sure the euros dont get in the way of of european league games is because more or less the european countries leagues start and end at the same place. It’s only right that Africa would do the same for the African leagues

  11. says: Ezza

    You saying it’s better to have the players for the 6-10 games during the ACN, and move the ACN to the summer, right? Well if you did, and they play in the ACN as they would be required, then the following season, they will be heavily fatigued and then if you expect them to carry on playing in the new season you will suffer as their form won’t be so good without a break then preseason. The ACN would be even more damaging in the long run. Just look at players like Xavi, after the Euros. Again to reiterate other people’s point, every team buys an African player knowing this so they should bolster up their replacements. While I admit you can’t get the same quality elsewhere, e.g. Drogba, the 6-10 games won’t win you the season, and they shouldn’t lose it for you either.

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