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Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has denied the insinuation that he insulted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) by blocking Emmanuel Dennis from playing at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon which commences in two weeks time.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that Dennis has been replaced in the squad by Slavia Prague’s Peter Olayinka in a major boost for Watford, who are battling to escape the drop from the Premier League.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Ranieri defended himself by saying; ‘I knew they were speaking, the Watford board and Nigeria board and I accept every decision they’re fine and that for me is finished’.
‘No [we have not insulted AFCON]. We respect everybody. They have a lot of players and they changed the manager then changed everything.
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‘We were ready to give them players. They didn’t do this and the two boards spoke and for me it’s ok. I am only the manager, the coach and I accept everything.’
The 24-year-old has scored eight goals and recorded five assists in 17 league appearances for the Hornets this season.
In a related development, Italian club side, Napoli have moved to stop striker, Victor Osimhen from representing Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, in Cameroon reportedly due to their decision to ensure that his collar bone injury heals properly.
The 2021 AFCON begins on January 9 and ends on February 6, 2022.
According to Football Italia, Osimhen spent the Christmas break in Nigeria, but he’s expected to return to Naples on Friday for a medical check after a cheekbone surgery he underwent at the end of November.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK