QPR's Taarabt commits to Africa Cup of Nations
PARIS (AFP) –
Queens Park Rangers midfielder Adel Taarabt says he wants to play for Morocco at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, despite his club manager Harry Redknapp’s request for him to skip the tournament.
Redknapp wants the mercurial attacking player to focus on QPR’s bid to avoid relegation, but Taarabt hopes to earn a recall from Morocco coach Rachid Taoussi for the January 19-February 10 competition in South Africa.
Taarabt has fallen out of favour with Taoussi in recent months, but the 23-year-old is determined to win back his place in the national team.
“I will do everything I can to prove to him that I deserve to be there,” Taarabt told the website of French sports daily L’Equipe.
On Redknapp’s desire for him to miss the tournament, he said: “He came to see me to ask me not to go but I told him: ‘If they call me, I can’t refuse, boss. I love my country, I love the Moroccan people and football means a lot to them.’
“I warned him that the only solution was that the coach doesn’t call me up.”
Taarabt added: “The coach isn’t obliged to take me. I hope to be at the African Nations Cup but even if I’m not there, and that would be painful, I will be the biggest Morocco supporter.”
Taarabt scored twice as QPR beat Fulham 2-1 at the weekend to climb off the foot of the Premier League table, with Redknapp hailing his display as “one of the all-round great individual performances”.
The former Lens player failed to shine under Redknapp during their time together at Tottenham Hotspur, but Taarabt says he is delighted the pair have been reunited at Loftus Road.
“He is a peerless motivator,” he said. “You believe you are the best player in the world when he talks to you.
“Before matches he is very strong. When you go on the pitch, you fear nothing. At the end of the match against Fulham, he came to me to say: ‘I told you that you were as good as (Fulham striker Dimitar) Berbatov.’”