Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has allegedly made some controversial comments regarding African players participating at the flagship continental showpiece.

The 76-year-old is reported to have declared he will not sign any more African players for the Seria A club unless they agree to not represent their national teams at the Africa Cup of Nations.

This follows the absence of former Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who recently joined Premier League side Chelsea, as well as Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa during the AFCON finals in January and February this year.

The tournament was hosted in the middle of the Italian premier league’s season, with the pair having missed a total of six matches including their Coppa Italia Round of 16 elimination at the hands of Fiorentina.

“Enough of African players, or they should give up playing in the African Cup of Nations. I won’t be buying them anymore for this reason,” De Laurentiis said, as quoted by BBC Sport, during an interview on a Wall Street Italia talk show on Tuesday.

“We pay the salaries to send them around to play elsewhere in the middle of the league championship. Or they sign a waiver that for Afcon and the championships in South America [the Copa America], I cannot make them available to participate.”

Koulibaly captained the Lions of Teranga to their maiden AFCON title at the showpiece earlier this year, while Anguissa helped the Indomitable Lions to a third-place finish on home soil.

Nigeria international forward Victor Osimhen, 23, is another African currently on the books of Napoli, though he missed out on the tournament through injury.

Though the AFCON tournament was moved to June-July as of 2019, barring this year’s showpiece due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CAF have already confirmed that the 2023 edition will again be played in January due to the adverse weather in host nation Cameroon during June and July.

By Web Admin

(Visited 227 times, 1 visits today)