African stars unwilling to play in AFCON labelled selfish by Safa vice-president

Michael Essien has opted to withdrawal from the Africa Cup of Nations

The chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, says players who will not play for their country are “selfish and egotistical”.

Ghana’s Michael Essien and Bafana Bafana’s Steven Pienaar are two stars who will miss January’s Nations Cup in South Africa.

“It cannot be right for any player produced (in Africa) to say I prefer my club,” Nonkonyana, who is also a vice-president of the South Africa Football Association, told BBC Sport.

Real Madrid’s Michael Essien has asked to be excused, while Everton’s Pienaar has retired from internationals.

“That is selfishness in my view, it is very egotistic. It is time to instil in every player national pride.”

Midfielder Essien, who is at Real on loan from Chelsea, says his priority is to secure his long-term club future – although he insists he remains committed to the Black Stars.

Ex-South Africa captain Pienaar, who plays for Everton, retired from internationals in October after telling coach Gordon Igesund he was “physically struggling to balance the demands of playing in England with the number of games required by South Africa”.

While Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah told BBC Sport he understands Essien’s situation, it is a view that is not shared by Nonkonyana.

“It is time now for players to be proud of their own nations. The gentlemen we are talking about, they are megastars now as a direct result of the contribution of their national associations,” he said.

“For them to disclaim their own national associations, their own country, it is something we cannot smile about. It is a pity they have decided that way.

“I would say to [Steven Pienaar], he must remember that he came from the ghettos in South Africa and he became a national player because the South African FA identified him and developed him to be where he was. He would not have gone to England unless he had some international caps.

“I hope he is listening to me. My plea is for him to reconsider and join the national team.”

Nonkonyana believes the problem is growing and needs to be addressed by the Confederation of African Football as well as world football’s other governing bodies.

“It is time for all of us football administrators across the world to fight and uproot this scourge, this club v country issue – Caf, Uefa and Fifa need to raise this matter,” he said.

“Those players that are disclaiming us they do not have a bright future because our own ancestors would not be amused about what they are doing.”

Nonkonyana is also the chairman of the local organising committee for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa and he is unhappy that some of Africa’s best talent will be missing when the tournament takes place between 19 January and 10 February.

“It would be good for all the megastars to be here because we would like to showcase African talent, to celebrate.” he said.

Source: BBC

Is the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana wholly true? Let’s hear from you in the box below.

READERS COMMENTS

  1. Abrantie - In Da House says:

    Why call them selfish? Instead of you people in positions to be addressing what is really wrong, you are rather attacking the players for just reacting to your stupidity? You are an African leader indeed!!

    First of all, AFCON is the only continental tournament that takes place every 2 years (All the other continents play theirs every 4 years) which is already too much for the players… more so, this tournament takes place in January where teams are fighting for positions in their various leagues. So stubborn you guys think you are, you say, you will not change the timing. What even beat my mind is, we just played AFCON 2012…and yet again another AFCON in 2013… You guys could have just waited for 3 years and play this tournament in 2015…but no, the African leader has once again proved he cannot think….and even when he thinks, he thinks about himself and his pocket alone.

    Now the players have to choose to lose their jobs and coming to play, you are calling the selfish… If they are selfish, how would you label the leaders who planned this tournament then? FOOLS abi? This is what you have to address and leave the poor players alone. They also have to eat and feed their families as well.

    • Al says:

      Could Not Have Said it better, Caf is ran by idiots…if you MUST have the damn tournament every 2 years then move it to the spring or the summer. if it cant be moved like they want us to believe then make it every 4 years. its not fucking rocket science.

    • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

      WELL SAID ABRANTIE. 10 OVER 10…SAFA KNOWS THEY WILL LOSE OUT ON TV VIEWERSHIP ETC IF AFRICAN STARS DONT SHOW UP. THIS IS WHY HE IS TALKING AS SUCH. I DONT BLAME HIM THO, U KNOW BCOS ITS BUSINESS. ISSA HAYATOU SOMEHOW HASNT REALISED THAT THIS IS BUSINESS. THOSE DAYS OF NATIONALISTIC PRIDE ETC ARE GONE. LOOK AT CLUBS LIKE MAN U, BAYERN MUNICH, BARCELONA, LIVERPPOL, REAL MADRID. HOW MANY AFRICAN PLAYERS DO U SEE WITH THESE CLUBS? IF U HAVE A PLAYER THE CALIBRE OF ETO, MESSI, RONALDO, DROGBA. WOULDNT U COMPLAIN OF LOSING THEM FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH? WHEN U VERY WELL KNOW THEIR IMPORTANCE IN HELPING YOU OBTAIN A TROPHY? CAF BETTER WAKE UP OR ELSE MORE AFRICAN PLAYERS WILL FIND REASONS TO DO A NO SHOW FOR AFCON TOURNAMNTS. EVEN IF THEY DO, THEY WONT PERFORM OR PLAY AS THEY SHOULD. THIS WILL UNDERMINE THE ENTIRE AFCON TOURNAMNT.

      • Nana Owusu says:

        Massa u talk too much. Wasn’t the Afcon which helped them to be at where they are?? Shut the fu*k up and don’t watch the Afcon for all that we care.

        • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

          U FOOL PASS FULL STOP. DUMB DUMMY. MAYBE ITS TIME FOR AFCON N CAF ESP TO MAKE CHANGES IN ORDER TO KEEP THESE PLAYERS THERE…MAN U, BARCA, REAL MADRID, LIVERPOOL, BAYERN MUNICH…HOW MANY GH OR AFRICAN PLAYERS PLAY FOR THESE CLUBS

  2. Adamu Muftawu says:

    You cannot make such statements without digging to know the reason for the players’ withdrawal.Somebody like Michael Essien is unfit to play even for his club.Most of the players in way or the other have a reason for opting out of their country.You have find out the reasons for these before you can dub them “selfish”.I believe it is not entirely a fair comment.I stand to be corrected anyway.

  3. Chu says:

    Muftawu, it was GSN who added Essien and not the safa prez so leave him out. He might just not feature for us again

  4. Chu says:

    Sometimes the selfish team leaders caus bitter players to take a bow out. eg cameroon is a good eg of corrupt officials

  5. Dogo says:

    Afcon has become ubiquitous. Anytime you turn around there is a new Afcon. What the heck do you want the players to do you greedy African leaders. Due to corruption, you guys will rather have the tournament every 2 years instead 3 or 4.

    • Nana Owusu says:

      @ Dogo, u fool pass everyone here. Me, I wish they play it yearly cos I do love Afcon. Some players can go to hell for all that we care but still Nation in Africa can get someone to represent them. They always depend on the National Team when ever their form get down in their clubs But turn back to their National team when they are in form and in good team. mind you, there is a lot of African player who need the Afcon to show their talent to the world.

      Africans are not having any grate football competition with the exception of the Afcon. So shut the fu*k up and wait for January to come, I know u will be the first person to watch the watch on TV.

      • GH FUO, THINK BIG!!! says:

        ABOA OWUSU. U LOVE AFCON SO PLAYERS SHOULD SACRIFICE THEIR HEALTH N CAREERS TO SATISFY YOU? FOOLISH SELFSIH IDIOT. THE RELIED OF NATIONAL TEAMS TO BUILD THEIR CAREEERS SO THEY SHOULD ALLOW THEIR LOYALTY TO THESE TEAMS RUIN THEIR CAREERS AS WELL? HAVE U SAT DOWN AND REASONED FROM THE CLUB’ PERSPECTIVE? LOOK AT HOW MUCH ETO’S RUSSIAN CLUB IS PAYING HIM? LOOK AT HOW MUCH MAN CITY IF PAYING YAHYA? IMAGINE LOSING SUCH VALUAGABLE PLAYERS NOT FOR 2 WEEKS BUT 1 WHOLE MONTH….AGYEEEIII. U COULD VERY WELL LOSE OUT ON TROPHIES IN THAT 1 MONTH, U KNOW.

  6. Dogo says:

    You morons. You will sacrifice quality for quantity. I don’t blame you because that is the African way. Those players plying their trade in Europe and elsewhere do so because they have families to feed. Don’t you foolish people know that playing afcon every two years can hinder other peoples chances of beign recruited into the european clubs? Because it will create the impression that African stars or players can be relied upon when they are needed the most because they will be somewhere in ouagadougou playing afcon. Look at the case of Kwadwo Asamoah. Juventus need him badly for the campaign but very soon he will park his stuff and set off to the camp. So I ask you will Juventus not scrutinize the next African signing?.Nonentitie when smart people are talking you should shut up and listen.fools

  7. Zagwa Zatha says:

    I think I no understand the tone of contributors on this site. Most of these guys are footballers, not fans. No wonder you talk so strongly against some players, its not because you dont like other guys’ perfomance, rather, you want them out of the team so that yo take thir places, morons!!!!fight for places on the pitch not the press!!!!!!!

  8. Cheif aggrey says:

    It used to be an honor to play for ur country, but now one must pay bribe to F A heads and coaches b4 he is called, so if he feels he no longer join the bribing bregade what is the sweat. There is nothing to be proud of.