Home SPORTS GIST AFCON2019 AFCON 2021: NIGERIA MISSED A DEADLINE TO ADVISE THE PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB – RANIERI

AFCON 2021: NIGERIA MISSED A DEADLINE TO ADVISE THE PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB – RANIERI

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By Aishat Momoh. O.

Emmanuel Dennis of Watford and Victor Osimhen of Watford have both been left out of Nigeria’s team for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Dennis, who has eight Premier League goals this season, is apparently refusing to be released by the Hornets.

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Dennis was excused, according to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), since Watford were “baring fangs.”

Following a positive Covid-19 test, Osimhen was ruled out, and he is still suffering from face fractures.

The Napoli striker, 23, was expected to miss the competition, which kicks off on January 9 in Cameroon, due to an injury sustained in November.

Dennis, 24, will now be eligible for Watford’s league matches against Newcastle and Norwich, as well as their FA Cup third-round meeting against Leicester City on January 8th.

“I knew the board and the Nigerian board were conversing,” Watford manager Claudio Ranieri stated. I accept every choice they make, and that’s the end of it for me.”

When asked if Dennis’ decision to stay with his club was disrespectful to Afcon, Ranieri replied, “No.” They have a large number of players, and the managers and other personnel have all changed. We were prepared to hand over the players, but they refused. The two boards have spoken, and I am satisfied.

“Of course he wanted to play, but he also wanted to help Watford,” says the manager.

Dennis and Osimhen have been replaced by Peter Olayinka of Sparta Prague and Henry Onyekuru of Olympiakos, with the Super Eagles also obliged to make two defensive changes.

Rangers defender Leon Balogun and Cyprus-based Abdullahi Shehu have been replaced by West Bromwich Albion’s Semi Ajayi and Venezia’s Tyronne Ebuehi.

Dennis was not included in previous coach Gernot Rohr’s initial 37-man provisional squad, but was added to the 40-man squad in December.

Watford manager Claudio Ranieri revealed that his selection in the final roster could lead to the club refusing to release him.

Nigeria missed a deadline to inform the Premier League club that the forward was being considered for selection, according to Ranieri.

According to BBC Sport Africa, the NFF said it may have left it too late and is now in a weak position to ask Dennis to travel.

On Instagram, Nigeria’s official account wrote, “In-form quick raider Emmanuel Dennis, whose English Premiership team is baring fangs, has been excused to make place for Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka.”

Osimhen officially informed interim coach Augustine Eguavoen of his decision to withdraw on Thursday, despite his desire to travel to Cameroon for the continental showcase.

The athlete sent an official letter due to his recent coronavirus illness and Napoli’s refusal to release him for the competition.

“With everything going on right now, he just felt he wasn’t in the proper frame of mind, physically and psychologically, to play for Nigeria,” a senior NFF official told BBC Sport Africa.

The three-time African champions play in Group D with Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, and Sudan, and have named Portuguese Jose Peseiro as their permanent coach.

On January 11, they begin their campaign against the Pharaohs in Garoua.

In the meantime, Cameroon star Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been sidelined with an injury, and the hosts are the latest to report coronavirus infections.

Choupo-Moting, 32, is awaiting scan results after leaving a training session early due to a knee problem.

Pierre Kunde Malong, Jean Efala, Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui, and Christian Bassogog have been under surveillance since Wednesday due to “high suspicions” they have the virus, according to the Cameroon Football Federation, and the quartet will remain quarantined.

On January 9, the Indomitable Lions take on Burkina Faso in the tournament’s first match.

Cape Verde, a Group A contender, has seen seven players test positive, including all three goalkeepers and an assistant coach.

Algeria and the Ivory Coast, both holders, have reported incidents at their respective training camps in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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