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By ESPN Staff

2010 African Nations Cup to start earlier

ACCRA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The 2010 African Nations Cup will start 10 days earlier than this year's edition in Ghana as a small concession to European-based clubs. The ruling Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Thursday the 2010 tournament in Angola would be held from January 10-31. This year's finals start on Sunday and run until Feb. 10. The decision follows widespread complaints from European clubs and African players based in Europe over the timing of the African championship. However, it will provide no respite for clubs in European countries who do not have a winter break, such as England, where more than 40 players at the 2008 event play their club football. CAF have made it clear they will not change the overall timing of the Nations Cup, which is held every two years in the middle of the season in Europe, where most of the top African talent play their club football. Diverse climate conditions on the continent have been cited by CAF as the reason for not moving the finals to June or July. Among those who have criticised the timing of the Nations Cup are high-profile players like Samuel Eto'o, Michael Essien and El Hadji Diouf, who leave their clubs at a key point in the European season.