Arsenal’s Kolo Toure is one of the best defenders in the world – and also one of the most in-demand. At the moment, the Ivory Coast international is playing at the Africa Cup of Nations where his country have reached the quarter-finals and have a great chance of advancing still further.
While all this sounds sounds rosy for any Elephant supporter, the flipside is that near the end of the season, fatigue could well seep in for top-level players like Toure. Sky Sports reports that the Gunners defender is wary of the remaining tough months left in the season. He fears that his commitment to his nation could make him physically more exhausted towards the home stretch of the season and Arsenal could be unfortunate sufferers.
Toure told the News of the World:
”It is a concern that if we get to the final or the third-place match I will go back to London after being involved in five games in about 18 days. I have done this before but these are tough and physical games in a knockout competition. Later rounds may have extra-time and it will be very hot. That is not ideal considering the schedule we have ahead of us at Arsenal. We are going for the Premier League and we also have hopes in the Champions League and the FA Cup.”
Other clubs in the Premier League, notably Chelsea and Portsmouth, also face the terrifying prospect of their African players burning out near the end of the season. Should the Africa Cup of Nations be held responsible for this? Should the concerned authorities try to shift the competition to some other time?