Vieira: AFCON must be respected

English Premier League

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira says the Africa Cup Of Nations deserves more respect.

There has been a lot of reported pressure from Europe to postpone the tournament which is scheduled to get underway in January.

The Palace manager feels the Africa Cup of Nations is just as important as the European Championship, which was held across 11 cities in June.

Read: 'Players at AFCON will be in real danger'

“I respect and understand the passion and the importance to players to go and represent their country so I will never stop any player going to play the Africa Cup of Nations,” the Senegalese born said.

“I believe that that competition needs to be more respected – because this competition is as important as the European Championships.

“It might be important for you guys [the journalists] to cover the Africa Cup of Nations a little bit more and to go to Africa and interview people to really understand what it means for every single one of them.

“When you are talking about Senegal I don’t think people would really understand if (Sadio) Mane or Cheikou Kouyate didn’t represent their nation. If there was more coverage of that competition I think people will understand more how important it is for the African continent,” he concluded.

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