Redknapp sweating on duo’s availability in January
QPR manager Harry Redknapp is yet to speak with star man Adel Taarabt about his potential African Cup of Nations commitments with Morocco.
It is understood that the playmaker would rather stay in west London and help his club battle against relegation than go to South Africa for the biennial tournament.
The 23-year-old has been one of the shining lights in an otherwise miserable season so far for the R’s, winning the club’s player of the month award for October, and Redknapp hopes that he won’t be unavailable in January and February, if Morocco progress to the latter stages.
“I haven’t spoken to him about that yet but I’m hoping he doesn’t go,” Redknapp told London24.
“We need him here. So I’m hoping he doesn’t go and play out there.”
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QPR could have two players taking part in next year’s African Cup of Nations – Taarabt and his midfield colleague Samba Diakite, a Mali international.
The competition has taken place in even numbered years since 1968 but the Confederation of African Football (Caf) made the change to odd numbered years from 2013, in a bid to aid their countries’ hopes in a World Cup.
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The change, however, meant that two competitions will be held within 12 months of each other, something that poses a headache to Redknapp and every other Premier League manager with eligible players.
“It’s a nightmare when you’ve got African players – that’s your problem,” Redknapp added.
“We’ll have to wait and see if Adel and Samba go. I don’t know what his situation is though either.”
Diakite has also hinted that he’d rather stay and help Rangers in their battle to avoid the Premier League trap door, but it might not be as simple as that.
Should the pair refuse to go then the Moroccan and Mali Football Associations may then take the step of complaining to Fifa and the duo could be banned from representing QPR during the tournament.
The same could have happened to Tottenham’s Gareth Bale in the summer, though the FA did not seek a ban, when the winger pulled out of the Team GB Olympics squad through injury but returned to action for Spurs before the Games had started.
And Redknapp will monitor what happens with the pair after the club have completed their intense December schedule.
“Let’s wait and see what happens. We’ll know where we are in January,” he explained.
“There are plenty of games between now and then and they’ll have an idea of what’s happening.”