Nigeria: Klopp Defends Calling Afcon a Little Tournament

Soccer ball in a stadium.
25 November 2021

Liverpool's coach, Jurgen Klopp has defended his statement where he referred to the African Cup of Nations, AFCON as a little tournament saying it was interprteted out of context.

Klopp during a press conference after Saturday's win over Arsenal, while answering questions regarding international breaks referred to the AFCON as a 'little tournament'.

He said, "I've heard that so often that there's no international break until March. In January, there's a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games, too - South America as well, great, can't wait."

Responding to journalist, Ojora Babtunde who asked him to apologize for 'demeanly regarding the Africa version of Euro's, the AFCON, as a little tournament, Klopp explained that it was a way of expressing his frustration at losing vital players at an important stage of the season.

Klopp said his comment was misinterpreted. "I didn't mean it like that. I don't know why you understand it like that.

"It's not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.

"What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way. I said 'there's no international break anymore until March' and I said: 'Oh and there's a little tournament in January,' and I didn't mean a little tournament, just like you say it when there's still a tournament. It's ironic. There's still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.

"I'm not a native speaker, but if you want to understand me wrong you can do that all the time. I know that I would never think like this. I never understand why you thought like this to be honest, but that's really not OK, because I would never do that, but that's it now.

"It was not my intention, but you made something of it. That's not so cool as well to be 100 per cent honest." He said

Liverpool will be without Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane for the month-long tournament, which begins on January 9 and runs till the 6th of February.

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