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Senegal manager Aliou Cisse lashes out at Jurgen Klopp’s over AFCON comments

‘Who does he think he is?!’: Senegal boss Aliou Cisse accuses Jurgen Klopp of calling AFCON a ‘small tournament’ and claims the German owes his success at Liverpool to African stars Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip

  • Jurgen Klopp caused a stir when he called AFCON a ‘small tournament’
  • Liverpool manager insisted his comments were misinterpreted
  • Aliou Cisse called Klopp’s comments disrespectful to AFCON
  • Liverpool lose for a month Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita
  • AFCON runs from January 9 to February 6 next year in Cameroon


Senegalese manager Aliou Cisse has responded to Jürgen Klopp’s comments about the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), suggesting the Liverpool manager owed his success to players from the continent.

Last month, the German caused a stir when he described the AFCON as a ‘minor tournament’ following Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal.

When asked if he was relieved that there was no international break until March, Klopp replied: “I’ve heard that so many times that there isn’t an international break until March.

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse has criticized Jürgen Klopp’s AFCON comments

“In January there is a small tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games too – South America too, great, can’t wait.”

Liverpool will lose some of their stars, including Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for the tournament, which runs from 9 January to 6 February next year.

While Klopp then returned, Cisse felt he had shown a lack of respect for the tournament and had a swipe at the German’s track record before beating the likes of Salah and Mane.

Salah will be at AFCON and represent Egypt

Mane will also be in Cameroon for Senegal

Salah will be at AFCON to represent Egypt while Mane will also be in Cameroon for Senegal

‘Who does he think he is? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool,” he told the broadcaster iTV Senegal.

“I respect Liverpool, but not Klopp who undermines African football events. He is where he is today thanks to the African footballers.

“He lost every final until Salah, Mane and Matip came to his aid to win his first ever major European final.”

Cisse, who played in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Portsmouth, pointed out that the AFCON featured the same number of teams as the European Championship – 24 – and the quality was just as good.

The Liverpool boss had jokingly said the AFCON was a 'small tournament' before going back

The Liverpool boss had jokingly said the AFCON was a ‘little tournament’ before going back

Following Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League last week, Klopp made it clear that his comments had been misinterpreted.

‘I did not mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it that way,” he told a journalist, who had suggested that his comments had offended African players and fans.

“It’s not even close to the idea that I want to talk about AFCON as a small tournament, or the continent of Africa as a small continent, not at all.

“What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you had wanted to understand it the right way, you could have understood it the right way.”

Cisse said Klopp's spell at Liverpool wouldn't be as successful without Mane and Salah

Cisse said Klopp’s spell at Liverpool wouldn’t be as successful without Mane and Salah

The Liverpool manager refuted the suggestion that the AFCON was not on the same level as its other continental counterparts.

‘There is another tournament. A big. We are losing our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations,” he continued.

‘I’m not a native speaker, but if you want to misunderstand me, you can always. I know I would never think like that.’

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