Dispute disrupts Senegal’s African Cup plans

The Senegalese Football Federation has broken off contact with

the country’s sports ministry in a dispute that threatens to throw

the team’s preparations for next month’s African Cup of Nations

into chaos.

Federation president Augustin Senghor said the national football

body had decided to halt communications with the ministry after the

bodies clashed over coach Amara Traore’s new contract and the

budget for the squad to prepare for the tournament, which kicks off

in a month.

”The federation has stopped all written or verbal exchanges

about the African Cup of Nations and the contract of the national

coach, Amara Traore, with the Ministry of Sports,” Senghor told

reporters on Thursday.

Senghor added the federation had told coaching staff to delay

the naming of an initial squad for the Cup of Nations, which was

due on Tuesday, because of the standoff. Senegal’s warmup matches

against Sudan and Tunisia were also unlikely to go ahead.

Traore, whose contract expired on Dec. 15, is seeking a pay rise

from $11,500 a month to around $23,000 in a new deal but his salary

is yet to be cleared by the ministry, meaning the team is

effectively without a coach four weeks away from the

tournament.

The federation also sent back the $200,000 given to it by the

government to prepare for the African Cup, saying it wasn’t

enough.

”That amount of money is under the budgetary expectations,”

Senghor said.

The Ministry of Sports said the $200,000 was just an

advance.

Senegal has hopes of challenging for its first African Cup of

Nations title in the Jan. 21-Feb. 12 tournament in Gabon and

Equatorial Guinea. The Teranga Lions were drawn in Group A with

co-host Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Zambia.