'You owe Africa an apology' – Watch as Klopp is confronted by fuming reporter after calling AFCON a 'little tournament'

'You owe Africa an apology' – Watch as Klopp is confronted by fuming reporter after calling AFCON a 'little tournament'

JURGEN KLOPP was left red-faced after being called out by a furious reporter for his recent comments about the African Cup of Nations.

Klopp was forced to clarify his comments after he previously referred to AFCON as 'a little tournament', which he claimed was ironic and taken out of context.

But the description still landed him in hot water, with Ojora Babatunde of OJB Sports demanding an apology from Klopp in a heated exchange via Zoom.

Babatunde said: "Hi Jurgen, during your last pre-match presser, you deliberately regarded the Africa Cup of Nations as a 'little tournament'.

"I think it's an insult to the players, an insult to the fans, an insult to the people, an insult to the continent and I think you owe the continent an apology."

Klopp, who was visibly stunned, replied: "I didn't mean it like that. I didn't mean it like that, I don't know why you understand it like that to be honest…"

The two then proceeded to interrupt each other before Klopp allowed the reporter to get his point across.

Babatunde then pressed Klopp further, saying: "That was what you said, I listened to the presser and you said the continent in Africa [is little], that is what you said."



But Klopp then tried to clarify his comments, arguing: "I didn't mean it like that, come on.

"I was not even close to it being the idea in my mind that I want to talk about the African Cup of Nations as a 'little tournament' or the continent of Africa as a little continent, not at all. 

"What I meant was, if you watch the whole press conference then you might have understood it the right way if you wanted to, because I said there are no international breaks until March now.

"I said 'oh there's a little tournament in January' and I didn't mean a little tournament, I was just saying it's still a tournament, it's ironic.

"It's still a tournament, a big one. We lose our best players to that tournament."

I think you owe the continent an apology

But an incensed Babatunde continued the argument, saying: "But you wouldn't say that in Europe, you wouldn't say a 'little tournament in Europe…'"

Klopp then tried to end the discussion, claiming: "I am not a native speaker but if you want to understand me wrong, you can do that all the time. 

"I know that I would never think like this. I don't understand why you thought this to be honest, but that's really not OK as I would never do that. But that is it now.

"It was not my intention but you made something [more] of it, so that is not so cool to be 100 per cent honest."

The row came after Klopp's Liverpool side sealed their qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory against Porto on Wednesday night.


Liverpool's African players, including Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita, will likely miss a several of their January and February fixtures.

They will miss a highly-anticipated league clash with title rivals Chelsea, as well as their FA Cup third round tie with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa.

The first leg of the Champions League round of 16 is also due to take place on either 15 or 16 February.

Which could come too soon after the AFCON final on 6 February, if any of Liverpool's players involved make it that far.

Klopp's side will find out who they will face in the last 16 on 13 December, having sailed through the group stages with five straight wins.

And they now turn their attention back to the Premier League, with a clash with Southampton on Saturday and the Merseyside derby on Wednesday next week.

The derby will be Rafa Benitez's first as Everton manager, having managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, winning the Champions League in 2005.

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