The 2019 African Cups of Nation is looming large and teams are doing their best to make sure they are ready for the tournament slated to commence on 21st July.
Kenya’s own Harambee Stars is currently preparing for the tournament in France before they jet to Egypt. Kenya, however, is not the only country having pre-AFCON training abroad. Which begs the question, is there any country that is preparing for the tournament in Africa?
The answer to that question might be ‘Yes’ but it is only a handful of teams that are preparing for the continental tourney within the continent. Even some of Africa’s most revered teams are training abroad.
Hosts Egypt are holding their training at home mostly because it is where the tournament will be held. Tanzania are also doing their training in Cairo to familiarise with the atmosphere in the North African country. Other teams training at home are Senegal, Nigeria, Morocco and Guinea. Benin is training in Morocco.
Most teams are set to converge in the Middle East where 7 teams will be training ahead of the tournament. Mali, South Africa and Ghana will be training in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. However, South Africa will first train at home before flying to the UAE.
Other countries training in the Middle East are Burundi, Namibia and Uganda. Burundi and Algeria will train in Doha, Qatar. Uganda on the other hand are training in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Those heading to Europe for pre-tournament training include Tunisia, Kenya, DR Congo and Madagascar. Tunisia will train in Croatia while the rest in France.
[ read: Harambee Stars’ financial woes sorted ahead of AFCON outing ]
Perhaps these teams are training abroad because of the possibility of playing friendlies with their host nation but no team has booked a friendly with its host so far. Most friendlies are between African teams who coincidentally found themselves training around the same area.
What might be the reason why African countries do not want to train in the continent? The tournament will be held in the continent. This should be a question African Football Associations should be asking themselves?
Maybe, just maybe, the associations have not set a conducive football environment for the teams to train. It may be about training equipment and facilities that are not available in the continent but are available in the continent. It brings you back to the Associations who have failed in providing these facilities or maybe the governments funding the Associations.
Four teams out of 24 have confirmed that they will be preparing for the AFCON in their home countries. It is high time we follow the performances of those who trained in Africa and those who didn’t. Who will achieve more in the tournament?
[read: AFCON supremacy rankings: Who has the best chances? ]