Former Super Eagles defender and out of favour Eagles player, Azubuike Egwuekwe has hailed the new decision by CAF for the AFCON to now be played in the summer rather than in the start of every year between Jan/Feb, especially for African players who ply their trade abroad.
This year’s edition will be staged in Egypt, with the tournament to hold in June and not the former format where players leave their club during the second half of the season due to the international engagements with their countries.
Speaking with www.brila.net, Egwuekwe said it would enable the players not to get distracted now as they would finish with their clubs before joining the national team.
He also welcomed the new 24 team format by CAF rather than the previous 16, adding that it was good for other countries to participate
“By changing it from 16 to 24, CAF wants more teams to participate and it is a good thing”.
“For them to shift it to the summer because it’s not good for players abroad will leave their club when the season is still on just to represent their country”.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to represent your country but it’s better during the summer so that you know that when the league has ended, you can then come back and focus on representing your country very well”.
Nigeria will be looking to make an impact this year after missing out on the last two editions of the continental showpiece.
Egwuekwe was part of the Eagles squad that last won the AFCON title in 2013 in South Africa under the late Stephen Keshi.