Weird facts on AFCON financial status
Windhoek – The debate on why most African players have snubbed their national representation at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is as old as the tournament itself.
While in the past the issue has been blamed on lack of commitment on the part of the African soccer stars, The Southern Times this week examines some of the most ridiculous and weird financial facts about AFCON.
A close look at the ongoing tournament underway in South Africa shows that the prize money is not sufficient to pay combined monthly salaries for Ivorian stars Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Kolo Toure.
In the same comparison, other players participating in the AFCON from smaller nations including Ethiopia and Zambia do not earn a salary from their national teams that is above US$10 000 a month.
To make it even worse, most players that play at the AFCON have to arrange for personal medical insurance in case they are injured away from their professional teams, as some African countries cannot afford to pay the medical expenses.
Hilarious as it may sound, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is offering US$1.5 million to the winner of the tournament, US$1m to the second runner up and US$750 000 to the third-placed team.
AFCON quarterfinalists will walk home with about US$600 000 ‑ equivalent to Yaya Toure’s salary for three weeks. Any team that does not meet the quarterfinal stage or beyond will pocket US$500 000, while the fourth-placed teams at group stages will earn themselves about US$400 000. Weird as it may be, the total earnings taken by the quarterfinal and group exiting teams is not sufficient to pay individual monthly salaries of the Toure brothers, who ply their trades in England for Manchester City.
Ironically, the three Ivorians earn a combined US$1.8m in monthly salaries at their different clubs in England and China, something that overshadows the ongoing AFCON.
On average, the Toure brothers take home a cool US$21 million annually, which could be broken down to just under a million a month, while Drogba earns about U$10m annually.
With such a background, it has also been extremely difficult for some African soccer governing bodies to keep their players under the leash as they always protest against poor remuneration.
Last month alone, Togolese captain Emanuel Adebayor almost pulled out of the tournament because the country’s soccer governing body owed the team playing bonuses for two years. Adebayor, who earns 6 million pounds a year in England, was quoted saying, “I am very committed to national duty and my patriotism is, but I owe it to some of my young fellows in the team to ensure that they are paid because they need the money.”