29 January 2013

Africa: It's a Shame Teams Can't Pay Players

The issue of some African teams dithering whenever it comes to paying bonuses for their players during major tournaments needs to be dealt with once and for all; it's a shame to Africans.

Mali captain Seydou Keita has vowed not to let a possible disagreement over player bonuses spoil his country's campaign at the ongoing African Cup of Nations in South Africa.

According to reports, the former Barcelona midfielder, who now plies his trade in the Chinese league, is willing to pay some of the money himself if need arises.

After Mali progressed to the quarterfinals following a 1-1 draw against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday, Keita, who is playing his last Africa Cup of Nations finals, admitted that there could still be a problem over extra payments for players if they reached the semi-finals by beating the hosts on Saturday.

"You cannot imagine how moved and happy I am to be here today and be able to play a match that will bring joy to my country," Keita said. "This is priceless. Money doesn't matter in such moments."

At last year's tournament, held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Mali finished third, and with a meeting against the hosts South Africa, another semi-final appearance is not out of reach. South Africa have yet to prove they're good enough to be considered genuine contenders.

"There might still be some disagreement over the bonuses for the semi-finals, but we said we will work it out," he said. "I actually told the (sports) minister that if we made it to the semi-finals and that there was still a disagreement over the bonuses, I could myself contribute to these bonuses."

DR Congo, Togo, Nigeria among others top football nations on the continent, have had similar problems in the past. Actually, Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor had to be personally assured by his country's Head of State that everything will be fine before he agreed to come and play in South Africa.

Today, Adebayor will be hoping to help his team overcome Tunisia for the right to join Ivory Coast in the last eight. Both teams have three points, which makes the match a real six-pointer for either.

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