Date: 19th November 2007 at 12:00am
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As we all know Harry Redknapp is not best pleased with the timing of the African nations – although he should know when this takes place by now – but with Nigerian coach Berti Vogts now insisting that all he members of his squad meet up for a 14-day training camp ahead of the competition itself Redknapp will be even less amused…

‘That is the way that things have to be and there will be no exceptions,’ Vogts is quoted as saying by the Times in regards to this training camp.

‘There will be a two-week training camp and all the players will be there. They will not be allowed to arrive later’.

Clearly we want what is best for Pompey, but we know the timing of the African nations each time we sign an African footballer, so I have made little secret of my thoughts that I have no sympathy at all for Redknapp when he bemoans the competition as he signs these players, so he knows what he is letting himself in for.

However with this latest news that Vogts is demanding that the players attend a 2 week training camp prior to the competition itself I will back Redknapp to on this issue, as I am he will sure be furious at this.

This will now mean that we could be without Kanu and John Utaka for as long as 6 weeks in total now.

The competition runs from January 20th – February 10th, which depending on how far they go – which should be far – would have meant the pair probably missing games against Derby (h), United (a), Chelsea (h) and Bolton (a) but it will now also mean they will miss our FA Cup 3rd round game and Sunderland (a) too, although they may have missed the Sunderland game in any case depending on what day they would have flown out?

This might not sound too bad, but depending on who we draw in the FA Cup this could be very bad news as you would have expected one, if not both to have featured in this game – almost certainly Utaka would have, so Redknapp’s need to sign a right sided midfielder as early in the January window as possible will now take on even more importance…


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