Africans to call up international stars in January

Famous European football clubs are expected to be hurting when the Afican Nations Cup begins in January 2008. Unlike the Asian Football Confederation's kind scheduling of its prestigious Asian Cup 2007 during Europe's football off-season, the African countries will be calling their stars for up to six-weeks FIFA-approved, national tream duty during the height of club compeition.

"There are more African players in England’s top division than from any other continent outside Europe.," noted Orion Assante at Sportingo. "Chelsea relied heavily on two Africans, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba, to prop them up last season. Arsenal’s defence relies heavily on Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue. Losing them in January would deal a severe blow to the title aspirations of Chelsea and Arsenal, especially as none of their rivals will be similarly affected.

Interestingly Manchester United, whose pre-season summer commercial tour of the Far East is clashing with the AFC Asian Cup 2007, doesn’t have a single African player in its entire first-team squad.