Napoli President vows never to sign African players unless they don’t play in AFCON


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Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has vowed never to sign African players unless they agree not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Serie A side had three critical members of their squad missing domestic action due to their participation at the last Afcon in Cameroon at the start of the year.

The Italian club was without defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who was with Senegal and Zambo Anguissa (Cameroon).

Victor Osimhen was supposed to be with Nigeria, but Napoli announced a bout of COVID would keep the prolific forward from representing the Super Eagles.

However, the withdrawal from selection and its timing raised a few eyebrows.

De Laurentiis feels it’s unfair for European clubs to keep paying salaries to such players while representing other interests.

“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” the Napoli boss said as per Football Italia.

“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”

The Afcon schedule has also been criticised by European coaches such as Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

CAF moved the tournament to the start of the year due adverse weather conditions in host nations in West Africa during the June/July period.