Arsenal legend Ian Wright has condemned the negative media coverage around the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, insisting it is "tinged with racism".
The staging of AFCON 2021 has been a rather contentious subject as, in recent weeks, calls for its postponement have loudened, with some journalists even quizzing African players as to whether or not they would honour their national team call-ups for the tournament.
This anti-AFCON narrative has now been strongly condemned by Gunners legend Wright, who took to social media to express his disdain for the reporting around the tournament.
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"I've got to get something off my chest and I've got to ask something: Is there ever a tournament more disrespected than the Africa Cup of Nations?" asked Wright in a video he posted on Instagram.
"There is no greater honour as a sportsperson than representing your country. The coverage is completely tinged with racism, completely tinged.
"You are getting players asked by journalists if they will be honouring the call-ups to their national teams. Could you imagine if that was an English player representing the Three Lions? Could you imagine the furore?
"We played our Euros across 10 countries in the middle of a pandemic and there was no issue. But Cameroon, a single country, hosting the tournament is a problem?
"Loads of the best players in Europe right now are African. If we love them at club level, why can't we love them at international level like their counterparts across the globe? Why is this tournament constantly getting so much flak?
"I have got to give a shout out to the players like Sebastien Haller who are taking a stand against the media backlash, plus Patrick Vieira for coming out and speaking about this.
"This is why it is important to have a black manager who can let people understand where his roots are and how important this tournament is for African people."
Ajax Amsterdam star Sebastien Haller recently called out a journalist for asking him if he would play for Ivory Coast at AFCON, with the striker replying that the question "shows the disrespect for Africa" and would not be posed to a European player ahead of a UEFA European Championship, according to ESPN.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera has also called for the continental showpiece to be shown more respect.
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