Row as French football boss suggests African players lack 'intelligence'

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Former French player Willy Sagnol also implied that 'typical' footballers from Africa lack disclipline but are powerful and 'ready to fight'.

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Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol has courted controversy by labelling African players as "cheap" as he declared that the scheduling of the Africa Cup of Nations puts him off signing players from the continent, reports The Times of India.

Sagnol, the former Monaco, Bayern Munich and France full-back who took over as coach of Bordeaux in the summer, also indicated that African players lack "intelligence" and "discipline" in an interview with the Bordeaux newspaper Sud-Ouest.

"We deal with it one game at a time, but yes it's a problem," said Sagnol when asked how he would deal with losing players to Cup of Nations duty early in the new year.

"As long as I remain coach of Bordeaux there will be far fewer African players coming to Girondins de Bordeaux, because I don't fancy seeing 12 players clearing off for two months every two years."

Sagnol, a former France international who won 58 caps and was an integral part of the side that reached the 2006 World Cup final, then gave a rather blunt assessment of the qualities of the "typical African player".

"These are criteria to take into account when it comes to signing players," said the 37-year-old, who also won the 2001 Champions League trophy with German side Bayern Munich.