Sports News of 2014-01-16

CHAN format bogus - Osei Kofi

Former Ghana striker, Reverend Osei Kofi, believes all African players who play on the continent should be allowed to participate in the African Nations Championships (CHAN).

Currently, the competition is solely reserved for players who are active in their country of origin and are actively engaged in local competitions.

Africa players plying on the continent do not qualify to participate in the competition.

Osei Kofi, joint top scorer at the 1965 African Cup of Nations, told Graphic Sports that this had contributed to Ghana’s inability to annex the trophy as DR Congo and Tunisia won the past two editions of the tournament.

"When the Confederation of African Football (CAF) first introduced this competition in 2009, the Retired National Footballers Association (RENFAG), of which I’m a member, wrote to them, commending them for their initiative, but also pleaded with them to broaden the scope of participation to make room for players who played for clubs on the continent outside their countries of origin.

"If the tournament is reserved for home-based players, I believe all African players playing on the continent should be allowed to participate.

Because as things stand now, only nations whose squads are made up of players with international caps can annex the trophy", he contended.

Osei Kofi argues that, the scope of players allowed to compete at the CHAN must be increased because Ghana and other footballing heavyweights have many players scattered in leagues across Africa.

"The past two winners of the CHAN (DR Congo and Tunisia) fielded teams with 70 percent of players coming from their senior national teams but Ghana who have talents such as Harrison Afful (Esperance, Tunisia), Edwin Gyimah (Supersport United, South Africa) and Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns, South Africa) playing in other leagues on the continent have been restricted.

The problem is not only peculiar to Ghana. Cote d’Ivoire Nigeria and many others suffer the same problem.

“If Football Association presidents on the continent appeal to CAF to have a re-think on this rule, the next edition of this wonderful tournament will see an improvement in the standard of football”, Rev. Osei Kofi added.

He also urged local Black Stars coach, Maxwell Konadu, to use the tournament to find players who could beef up the Black Stars squad for the World Cup.