Newcastle have asked the FA for help in sorting out exactly when their two African stars have to leave to join their countries for the African Cup of Nations.
Demba Ba – we need him for FAA Cup on Saturday
The tournament comes around every couple of years smack bang in the middle of the European football season, and it seems different countries ask for their players at different times.
And not only that but it seems the same country can have their players join the squad at different times.
Alan Pardew is rightly trying to get some order into this, and will try to delay the departures of Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba as late as possible.
The two Newcastle players will play tonight against Manchester United but whether they will be able to play against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday in the 3rd round of the FA Cup is not known.
The tournament takes place in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and starts on January 21st and lasts through to the final on 12th February, and the teams are allowed to get their players two weeks before the first game, which technically is this Saturday.
Pardew would want the two of them to be available for Saturday’s FA Cup tie and then leave on Sunday, one day late, and Alan had this to say about the matter:
“We’re in contact with the FA to see what’s been decided with every other club, because it has to be fair. There’s an impact on us, losing those two players, and we’re trying to make sure they play against Blackburn. “
“We want to know when all the African players are going – on Saturday morning, or Friday, or after the game on Sunday. When is it they have to report officially?”
Newcastle have also tried to contact the two countries involved, the Ivory Coast and Senegal FAs but that has not be successful in sorting out the mess – why not we have no idea.
It seems to us that players should be allowed to play on Saturday and then travel the next day Sunday, as one day here or there is not going to affect anything.