African fans don’t care how well their footballers play in Europe. What matters to those fans is how well their players play for the home team.
From New Statesman:
The African Nations Cup is important on many levels. It is not just a place where tomorrow's Drogbas, Kanus, Yakubus and Essiens will be spotted by European club scouts and the 16,000 journalists accredited to cover the tournament. The cup symbolises differing outlooks in the west and Africa about the importance of football to nations and ordinary people. It's a reminder that although wealth and fortune are facts of life in football and an important motivator for players, there are dreams and aspirations at the heart of the beautiful game that transcend money.
It's about the magic of having heroes. The reason why it is so important in Africa is that it shows the millions of young fans, who probably don't have enough to eat most days, who probably have no shoes on their feet and little education, that, like Samuel Eto'o, they too can make an impact on the world.