No African Cup of Nations absentees this winter

Alex Song |  PHOTO: ARXIU / FCB
With Song’s Cameroon out of the competition, for the first time since 2004 Barça will not be losing any players to the African Cup of Nations this winter

Alex Song and Cameroon’s shock exit from the African Cup of Nations against Cape Verde means that there will be no Barça players involved in the finals in South Africa next January and February. It is the first time in nine years that Barcelona will not be missing anybody to the biennial tournament.

Eto’o and Keita regular participants

In 2006, Samuel Eto’o left the team midway through its Liga and Champions League campaigns to defend the famous green and red of Cameroon in Egypt. Two years later, the same player led the team to the final in Ghana, which they lost to Egypt. Another FCB player, Touré Yaya, finished fourth in the same tournament with the Ivory Coast.

Barça also lost their Ivorian midfielder in the winter of 2010, when the Cup of Nations was hosted by Angola. That tournament also involved Seydou Keita, playing for Mali. In 2012, Keita was back for an extraordinary time in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, in which Mali finished third, their highest ever placing

The defeat to Cape Verde is bad news for Cameroon, the four-time winners who miss out on the tournament for the second time in a row. But there is a positive note for Barça fans, because it means they will be able to enjoy the uninterrupted services of Alex Song, the first time since 2004 that a Barça manager has not lost a single member of his squad to the African continental championship.