Senegal’s coach Aliou Cisse has “asked” Napoli not to sign any African players, saying that club obligations should never come before international football and the Africa Cup of Nations in particular.
The 46-year-old made his comments after Napoli’s owner and president, Aurelio de Laurentiis, said that the Italian club wouldn’t sign any more African players unless they agreed not to play in the biennial competition.
According to Cisse, a football player can play for as many as 12 teams, but only one National team. “Clubs will never have more importance than our flag and national teams.” And if a Senegalese player is skilled and playing in Europe, I will call on him to defend the national colors.
I have a lot of respect for De Laurentiis, but I want them to try not to sign African players. Because the Nations Cup usually takes place in January and February, European clubs have often had to let players go in the middle of the season.
The 2021 Nations Cup is being held this year in Cameroon. Napoli lost defender Kalidou Koulibaly and midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to call-ups for the tournament last season, and the two missed six club games.
The Confederation of African Football (Caf), the continent’s governing body, declared that it was “appalled” by De Laurentiis’ “irresponsible and inappropriate words” and urged Uefa, its European equivalent, to launch a disciplinary investigation.
By Ernest Asamoah