Klopp: Change in Africa Cup of Nations a ‘catastrophe’

first_imgLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has urged football’s governing bodies to ease the burden on the sport’s top players, calling the decision to switch the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to January and February a “catastrophe”. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left)  The European champions face losing African player of the year Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita for a significant spell next season after the AFCON, which will be hosted in Cameroon, was switched back to its former slot in the calendar. The tournament was moved to June and July for last year’s 24-team edition in Egypt, in large part to avoid clashing with the European club season. However, the competition, won by Algeria, was played in the searing heat of the north African summer. The same period coincides with the rainy season in Cameroon. Klopp said he understood the arguments for changing the schedule due to the tough conditions but criticised FIFA’s new 24-team Club World Cup, which Liverpool will be invited to after winning last season’s Champions League, in June and July of 2021 as further clogging up the calendar. “The first thing is that FIFA plans a tournament in the summer of 2021. A week later the AFCON would have started I think. Another tournament for a lot of world-class players,” said Klopp, who has been a persistent critic of fixture congestion. “These decisions are made without asking players, managers, without asking anybody. “FIFA, who should sort all of that as the head of these different associations, doesn’t look like being involved. They are still happy having their 2021 Club World Cup and offering a lot of money for all the clubs involved. Loading… “All of that leads to the AFCON going back to January and February, which is for us a catastrophe in that moment losing three players.” Klopp, speaking at the club’s training ground on Friday, added that while the rearranged timing of the AFCON would not affect the futures of the African players already at the club, it could put him off signing more in the future. “It doesn’t help African players,” he said. “We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby now because they have an extra tournament in January and February, but if you have to make a decision to bring in a player, it is a massive one because you know before the season for four weeks round about you no longer have him.” The German even indicated he would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant more protection for his players from burnout. Read Also:Klopp names three Liverpool stars in contention to face Man Utd “I know the discussions will start in the moment we ask for fewer games, everybody will tell us ‘take lesser money’, so I’m ready to do so,” added Klopp. “FIFA, UEFA and FAs (football associations) of all countries have to come together and finally sort that (out).” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Promoted ContentThe Funniest Prankster Grandma And Her GrandsonA Soviet Shot Put Thrower’s Record Hasn’t Been Beaten To This DayThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read More6 Extreme Facts About Hurricanes6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them8 Best 1980s Gadgets That Defined A DecadeBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This YearWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?15 Extremely Surprising Facts About Disney Princesseslast_img read more

Recovery act: After 2-year postseason ban, USC back in national championship hunt

first_imgOn Jan. 10, 2009, Pete Carroll stepped down as USC head coach. The resignation started a period of turmoil for the Trojans.Rumors had been swirling of potential NCAA sanctions for USC. On June 10, they became official. Both Southern California and the NCAA found that 2005 Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush received gifts from an agent, thereby forfeiting his amateur status.Bush was forced to return his Heisman, but he was already in the NFL. The bigger issue was for USC.The storied program vacated its final two games of the 2004 season, including its national championship, and all of its wins in 2005. The Trojans were also banned from postseason play in both 2010 and 2011, and were docked scholarships for three seasons.On Saturday, No. 2 USC (1-0) will meet Syracuse (0-1) inside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. But the past penalties continue to swirl around USC, as it will play with 75 scholarship players instead of the typically allotted 85 this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt hasn’t mattered for USC as of yet. The Trojans entered the season ranked No. 1 in the country and are among the favorites to win their first national championship since — technically — 2003.But not everyone is buying the hype.“They’re certainly talented,” Sports Illustrated college sports writer Pete Thamel said. “But I worry that depth may catch up to them this year a little bit and I’m not sold on their defense.”Overall, though, the general consensus seems to be that the hype is justified for USC. Even Thamel said he believes they are in the national championship conversation.The sanctions could have crippled USC, but the Trojans have already bounced back to become a national threat once again.In 2009, USC started a true freshman quarterback for the first time in program history. Matt Barkley joined the Trojans with lofty expectations as Rivals.com’s No. 5 overall prospect and ESPN’s top prospect. That season, Barkley led Southern California to a 9-4 record and an Emerald Bowl victory over Boston College.But Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks during the ensuing offseason. Lane Kiffin left the University of Tennessee and returned to his alma mater to take over as head coach.The NCAA handed down its sanctions and allowed all USC players to transfer without penalty. Barkley could have been one of them.But what he would do was never in doubt.“I never questioned my loyalty to this school, never thought I was going to leave,” Barkley said in a teleconference Tuesday. “It never crossed my mind once.”Instead, the Trojans used the two sanction-ridden seasons as growing experiences. Everyone who stuck around at USC did so knowing that, for two seasons, there would be no postseason glory.What that fostered was a tight-knit group that puts individual goals in the backseat.“We have a very close team,” Kiffin said in the teleconference. “I think they’re very unselfish. I think we have so many nationally star players, nationally recognized players that it creates pressure for stats on kids, but our kids aren’t like that.”Southern California showed that last Saturday.In USC’s season-opening 49-10 victory over Hawaii, starting running back Curtis McNeal carried the ball just five times, and preseason Heisman Trophy candidate wide receiver Robert Woods had just six catches. For a team hoping to take full advantage of its bowl eligibility, the win was all that mattered.Still, Barkley continued to grow into his role as one of the nation’s best college quarterbacks. After guiding the Trojans to a solid 8-5 record in 2010, Barkley led Southern California back onto the national stage in 2011.Despite spending nearly half the season unranked, USC finished the season No. 6 in its final season of bowl ineligibility.That could have been the end of the Barkley era in Los Angeles.The quarterback likely would have been a Top-10, if not Top-five, pick had he left for the NFL following his junior season. When his left tackle, Matt Kalil, declared for the NFL Draft on Dec. 16, 2011, many expected Barkley to follow.Six days later, Barkley held a press conference to announce his decision. The quarterback presented his head coach with a Christmas ornament featuring a picture of the two of them with the words “One more year” written on the back.“The fact that we couldn’t play the last couple years in the postseason had a lot more to do with it,” Barkley said of his decision to return for his senior season. “Just knowing the team we have this year and how special these guys are, and the talent level and really the character of these guys and how bad they want it, how hard they were willing to work, I saw that at the end of last year and I didn’t want to miss out on it.”While Barkley’s had the chance to play in a bowl game, most of his teammates are still waiting for their opportunity. For players like tight end Randall Telfer, this is the moment they’ve been waiting for since they set foot on USC’s campus.A redshirt sophomore, Telfer arrived at Southern California knowing that he would be unable to play in a bowl game during his first two seasons. But after two seasons of watching games from home in December and January, the Trojans are expected to be playing at the end of the season.“It’s definitely a big deal,” Telfer said. “This is what I came to USC for.”And for roughly half of the Southern California student body, 2012 is the first chance they have to see the Trojans play in the postseason.Telfer says the feeling around campus is noticeably different this season from a year ago because of the expectations and anticipation for the postseason.“We’ve got a lot of support coming from students, staff, faculty,” Tefler said. “So it just starts with family, community, and there’s lots of excitement in the community.”But right now, the focus for USC isn’t the past two seasons, nor is it the national championship, which isn’t until Jan. 7, 2013.For now, the Trojans are taking an approach of one game at a time. There’s still a long way to go until the postseason, and Barkley doesn’t want to let his final chance at a bowl game slip away.“Nothing’s set in stone, you’ve got to work for it,” Barkley said. “That’s a long way away, January’s a long way away. We know that it’s really going to take one game at a time.“We knew that it’s going to be a long haul.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 5, 2012 at 2:22 am Contact David: dbwilson@syr.edu | @DBWilson2last_img read more