By Andrew WarshawDecember 5 - The chairman of the local organising committee for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, has branded players opting out of the continent's showpiece event as "selfish and egotistical".
Category: African Nations Cup
Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:48
Ghana's Michael Essien (pictured top), on loan at Real Madrid, and South Africa's Steven Pienaar are two of the European-based stars who will miss the January tournament, although Pienaar insists he has retired from international football.
"It cannot be right for any player produced [in Africa] to say 'I prefer my club'," said Nonkonyana, vice-president of the South Africa Football Association (SAFA).
"That is selfishness in my view, it is very egotistical.
"It is time to instil in every player national pride.
"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.
"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."
Although most players selected for the African Nations Cup have heeded the call, Nonkonyana believes the general problem of club versus country is getting out of hand and needs to be addressed by 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 (Confederation of African Football), UEFA and FIFA need to raise this matter," he told the BBC
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