Itâ€™s just two weeks before the start of the African Nations Cup and Newcastle United have already lost two of their players to the tournament.
Oba Martins – misses Stoke game – but could play at Manchester United
The Nigerian FA have surprisingly refused Newcastleâ€™s request for Martins to face Stoke City in tomorrowâ€™s FA Cup third round.Â That’s surprising because they have already given Yakubu and Joseph Yobo permission to play for Everton against Oldham in todayâ€™s 3rd round tie.
However, Sam Allardyce is still hopeful of persuading Berti Vogts to allow the striker to face Manchester United next Saturday at Old Trafford. Newcastle will be without the services of Cameroon international Geremi, though the Senegalese pair of Habib Beye and Abdoulaye Faye are still available for tomorrowâ€™s game.
Of course, under the FIFA rules, African countries are entitled to call up players 14 days before the tournament actually begins, which is January 20th, and it turns out Nigeria have arranged a training camp in Spain in preparation for the competition.
So it looks like we have Faye and Beye available for tomorrowâ€™s game, and then perhaps Martins for next weekâ€™s game at Manchester United. But after that, thatâ€™s it, and weâ€™ll be without the four of them until into February some time. The tournament ends on February 10th.
Sam told the Newcastle Journal today:
â€œOur efforts mean we still have Abdoulaye Faye and Habib Beye before they go off to the African Nations Cup, but not Oba or Geremi.”
â€œWeâ€™ve got two of the four, which is important for us.â€
The 2008 African Cup of Nations will be the 26th edition of the African Cup of Nations, the football championship of Africa, and will be hosted by Ghana. The tournament will be held between January 20 and February 10, 2008.
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