The chances of a major Rangers boost look to have faded after an update was provided on a big upcoming tournament.
The next edition of the Africa Cup of Nations is due to run from 9 January to 6 February in Cameroon.
Rangers’ hopes of a major boost were short-lived after a tournament update from CAF emerged. (Photo by Ryan Pierse – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Three Rangers players – Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey – all of whom have played significant roles for Steven Gerrard during the opening months of the season, are likely to be involved with Nigeria.
If selected by Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr, they will miss a number of club fixtures, although it was recently reported that Rangers were hopeful striking a deal with the Nigerian Football Federation that would see them hold onto the trio for important clashes against Aberdeen and Celtic either side of the turn of the year [Daily Record].
This week, rumours have been spreading on social media suggesting that there was a chance the tournament could be postponed again or even cancelled.
Reports that the Africa Cup of Nations could be cancelled. pic.twitter.com/J2rgPWXEkO
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 26, 2021
Eduardo Hagn shared a document in French on Twitter claiming that there were ‘legal fights between the bodies responsible for making the tournament happen’ centring around the position of the President of Fecafoot (Cameroonian Football Federation).
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? AFCON is at risk for 2022. There have been legal fights between the bodies responsible for making the tournament happen. The main problem is that the President of FECAFOOT is in his role illegally. Postponement or cancellation are a big possibility. pic.twitter.com/PNZbDjL3He
— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) October 26, 2021
However, a Confederation of African Football (CAF) update shows that as far as the governing body is concerned, AFCON 2021 is going to go ahead as scheduled.
Calvin Bassey is yet to make his debut for Nigeria but he made the squad for two recent World Cup Qualifiers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
The CAF Executive Committee received a report from an Organising Committee delegation that recently visited host country Cameroon and although it’s noted that there are areas that need ‘some urgent attention ahead of the kick-off on 9 January 2022’, the 2021/22 competitions calendar has been approved [Cafonline.com].
It means that Rangers are still likely to lose Balogun, Aribo and Bassey in early 2022 and the number of club fixtures they miss will depend on how deep Nigeria go into the tournament.
Fashion Sakala won’t be heading for Cameroon, though, as Zambia didn’t qualify.
In other news, a player Rangers sold for just £300k in 2020 has won silverware with his new club overseas.
Jordan has been working for GRV Media since 2018, after completing a Media and Journalism postgraduate degree at the University of Glasgow. Brought up in Belfast, he has a passion for writing and has followed British and European football avidly all his life.