Jurgen Klopp Reacts To Calling The AFCON 'A Little Tournament'.

Jurgen Klopp has insisted that he did not mean to be offensive when he belittled the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after describing it as a little tournament last weekend.

The Liverpool's manager said that he was misunderstood for using the word 'little tournament' in reference to AFCON, insisting it was meant to be ironic.

Following Liverpool's 4-0 victory against Arsenal last Saturday, a  journalist had asked Klopp during a post- match press conference if he was relieved that there would not be an international break until March 2022?

Klopp laughed and responded by saying: "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."

The journalist got offended by Klopp's response, claiming that the statement was a slap on the tournament, the continent, an insult to the players, fans and the people from the continent. Hence, he urged the coach to apologize.

However, the Germany tactician Klopp tried to explain to the offended journalist what he actually meant by that statement through his Champions League post-match press conference after Liverpool defeated Porto 2-0 on Wednesday to secure a fifth straight win in the competition this season.

The Reds made a mockery of their so-called 'Group of death' getting a maximum 15-point from five games, a club record for the group stage which takes them to the knock-out round.

"I didn't mean it like that. I don't know why you understand it like that... Klopp said in clarity, insisting it just was a way of expressing his frustration at the fact of losing some vital players at an important stage of the season, and not as an insult to the tournament.


Liverpool are set to be without Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane for a couple of 5-6 matches, (which includes a potential Caraboa Cup semi-final, and a potential FA Cup fourth round fixture) when the AFCON tournament begins from  January 9 to February 6 with Cameroon the host nation.

“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”, Jurgen Klopp told reporters on Wednesday.

“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% honest.”

You may recall that this is not the first time that the Liverpool manager would be displeased with the AFCON being held in January to February, CloudNine Sports had reported that Jurgen Klopp expressed his sadness early last year after the 2021 African Cup Of Nations tournament was taken back to be played in January due to unfavorable weather conditions. 

The last edition in 2019 was played in June/July for the first time as per decisions from CAF, and It was also the first of its tournament expanded from 16 to 24 teams, hosted by Egypt.

Some other top clubs in the Premier League (Man City, Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea, Crystal Palace etc) would be without some of their vital players who would have to leave their clubs to represent their countries in the tournament.


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