Bouna Sarr (pictured) has reportedly declined the invitation by Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer to play for the West African side at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea, according to BBC Sport.
The 22-year-old’s decision was explained on his French club FC Metz’s website and comes as a blow to Dussuyer who earlier had to accept another decision by Guinean star player Ismael Bangoura to not play at the Nations Cup in order to concentrate on his French club Nantes.
These rejections from players make analysts wonder whether they are being contacted well before they are considered for such an important tournament on the continent.
In explaining his decision not to represent Guinea, French-born Sarr expressed shock at his call-up to the Syli Nationale and said he wished to concentrate on his career at this crucial point.
Given that the African Cup is a platform for many players to showcase their talent and get noticed by bigger clubs, Sarr may be missing out on a opportunity to command a better contract in the near future.
There is always tension in January between African players and their European teams in years that the African tournament is held, though. Many European teams pressure their African players to forfeit playing for their national team in preference for their club. Losing some of these African players for a minimum of 3 weeks could be crucial to some of the teams that have invested heavily in those players.
Some of the players who have in the past defied their clubs to join their counterparts for the tournaments have only come back to their clubs to receive subtle punishments, such as losing their place on the starting line-up.
Losing a starting place could devalue the stock of a player and thus hurt their future earning potential.
A solution to this conflict between African national teams and their Europeans Clubs could be avoided if the tournament is moved to the summer, when the European leagues are in recess.
This move has been resisted so far by the African Football administrators because of an unspoken rule of not allowing the Europeans to dictate when a tournament should be held on the African continent.
Some countries, such as Ghana, have done well in taking the initiative to contact and negotiate with the European football clubs affected by call-ups far in advance.
Either way, at the end of the day, the players’ willingness to represent his country of origin as well as a great administrative effort from his country’s respective football federation will help ease the tensions between the players and their clubs during the biannual tournament.
In the meantime, Guinea will have a tough time without these players who have rejected invitations to feature, but the three-time quarterfinalist can pull a surprise as they face Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Mali in Group D at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea.