Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reacted to criticism from many for calling the Africa Cup of Nations a little tournament.
Klopp’s apparent joke did not go down well with millions of African citizens across the world as they bounced on him for belittling the continent’s biggest football showpiece.
After their 2-0 Champions League victory over FC Porto on Wednesday where Thiago and Mohamed Salah scored, the Liverpool boss showed up for the usual post matche presser where a reporter confronted him about his earlier statement. The reporter also demanded an apology from Klopp.
Klopp is on the verge of losing at least four players in January if their countries qualify for AFCON. Sadio Mane, top scorer Salah, Naby Keita and Joel Matip are four African players Klopp could lose.
Klopp had said “No international break until March, I’ve heard that so often, but in January there’s a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say.”
While defending himself, here are two key things Klopp said.1. Not what I meant: Klopp was brought under the spotlight but posited that he didn’t mean it in the context it was understood.”It’s all good, I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that to be honest,” he said.
“I didn’t mean it like that, come on… so I was not even close to it being the idea in my mind that I want to talk about the AFCON as a ‘little tournament’ or about the continent of Africa as a ‘little continent’, not at all.
2. Klopp still said there’s a little tournament: Klopp could not find a better way to explain himself, while trying to defend his statement, he still said AFCON is a little tournament.
“What I meant was, if you watch the full press conference, then you might have understood it the right way if you wanted to because I said there are no international breaks until March now.”I said, ‘oh, there’s a little tournament in January’ and I didn’t mean a ‘little’ tournament, I was just saying it’s still a tournament, it’s ironic.
“It’s still a tournament, a big one. We [will] lose our best players to that tournament.I am not a native speaker but if you want to understand me wrong, you can do that all the time.”