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Football | Afcon

Taarabt torn over club or country

Morocco international Adel Taarabt is torn between representing his country at next year's Africa Nations Cup or helping Queens Park Rangers avoid Premier League relegation.

The stylish playmaker is highly valued at both club and international level but is likely to choose the former and play in the tournament which begins for Morocco on January 19 against Angola.

Taarabt's teammate, midfielder Samba Diakite, is a fully fledged Mali international and is another QPR player who is yet to decide whether he will compete in Africa's showpiece tournament.

QPR are the only side yet to win a match this season in 16 attempts, a Premier League record, and sit rock bottom on seven points.

"It's difficult. At the moment, I hope to do my best here before the time comes to take a decision. But I think I will go," Taarabt, 23, told BBC Sport on Wednesday.

Manager Harry Redknapp, who has been tasked by club owner Tony Fernandes with avoiding the drop into England's second-tier, is doing everything he can to convince regulars such as Taarabt to stay at Loftus Road.

"I spoke with and we had a talk about whether I'm going to go or not," Taarabt said.

"Of course, it's my country so it's a difficult decision for me because the situation with my club is difficult and the manager asked if I could stay.

"I would love to but it's my country so if I say no everybody at home will think I don't want to play.

"I go there every summer and if the team doesn't do well then the fans will have a go at me and I don't want that. I'm sure they can understand but think they would prefer to see me playing at the tournament."

Taarabt does, however, sympathise with his manager and said the Confederation of African Football should look at aligning the biennial tournament to fall within the European summer.

"The best thing would be to have it at the same time as the Euros in the summer because that makes it easier for the clubs," he said.

"The first thing is that we are employed by our clubs so it is difficult just to leave. You can understand if they are unhappy."

Montpellier's Younes Belhanda and Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal are also likely to be in coach Rachid Taoussi's squad.

Morocco are favourites to progress from Group A alongside host country South Africa with Cape Verde and Angola making up the rest of the group.

Should Morocco get to the final on February 10 in Johannesburg, QPR could be without Taarabt for up to six weeks.


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