Anger as Jürgen Klopp calls AFCON ‘a little tournament’

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Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp PHOTO/Courtesy

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp angered many when he referred to the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as a little tournament.

Angered, an African reporter Wednesday night asked Klopp to apologize for the remarks but the adamant coach refused.

The Liverpool manager insisted his comments were taken out of context.

This was after the manager, following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto Saturday, called AFCON ‘ a little tournament.’


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This was in a post match interview as he talked about international breaks.

The reporter speaking via video link demanded Klopp’s apology, accussing the manager of never saying ‘little tournament in Europe’.

The Interview

In full, the reporter firstly asked: ‘Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you deliberately called the Africa Cup of Nations a “little tournament”

‘I think it’s an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people on the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology.’

A taken aback Klopp replied: ‘I didn’t mean it like that. I didn’t mean it like that, I don’t know why you understand it like that to be honest…’

The journalist then rebuked: ‘That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said.’

Klopp then defended his comments: ‘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 African Cup of Nations as a “little tournament” or the continent of Africa as a little continent, not at all.

‘What I meant was, if you watch the whole 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 lose our best players to that tournament…’

Yet the reporter wasn’t done yet: ‘But you wouldn’t say that in Europe, you wouldn’t say a “little tournament in Europe…”‘

Klopp concluded: ‘I am 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 don’t understand why you thought this to be honest, but that’s really not OK as I would never do that. But that is it now.

‘It was not my intention but you made something [more] of it, so that is not so cool to be 100 per cent honest.’

The Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Cameroon and kicks off on January 9, with the final to be held on February 6, and Klopp is set to lose Salah, Mane and Naby Keita to international duty.




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