13 years ago

In January 2008, lots of European clubs would be faced with the reality of seeing their players from Africa leave to represent their countries for the 2008 African Cup of Nations.

Expectedly, the club-versus-country row will be reignited with some fourteen days (as stipulated by FIFA over the release of players by clubs) to go for Africa’s biggest sporting spectacle.

And one of the notable managers who will be coming to terms with the depletion of his squad for pressing national duties for the biennial tournament next January and February is Chelsea’s José Mourinho.

In 2006, he had to play without two of his players due to the African Cup of Nations but now the Chelsea manager will be have to contend with the possible loss of five squad members that is if they (players) are given call ups by their national associations.

Losing five players is a scenario he admitted had been causing worry and a lot of thought.

While on a humanitarian mission in Ghana, the home of one his players (Michael Essien) who is expected to be on national duty around that time, Jose Mourinho used the occasion to also talk about the African influence in his team and next year's Cup of Nations.

Mourinho on Wednesday spoke of a new approach in releasing African internationals for CAN 2008 to be hosted by Ghana.

“Something we can understand and something we don't want to change is the love and passion every one of our players has to play for their countries.

“What I will try and I don't know if people will be open to it, is to lose the players just for the competition and not 15 days before the competition.

“If we lose the players to play in the competition, it is something you can accept. It is more difficult to accept that for 15 days the players are doing some training while Chelsea is playing some very important matches.

“That will be what I am going try, co-operation, but I am not sure if I am going to succeed in that effort.”