Watford coach insists that the Hornets did not disrespect Nigeria, claiming the NFF missed the deadline for Emmanuel Dennis invitation.
Emmanuel Dennis will not be a part of Nigeria’s team to play at AFCON as the NFF has excused him from the squad.
The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in about a week, with preparations at fever pitch by the various national teams. The Super Eagles are not exempt and have been working round the clock putting together a formidable team for the tournament.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has seen some of its efforts at putting together a team strong enough to win the title thwarted by European clubs.
Europe’s disdain for the Africa Cup of Nations has claimed another victim. Emmanuel Dennis has seen the opportunity to play for Nigeria at AFCON impacted by a technicality.
Ranieri denies disrespecting Nigeria
Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis will no longer be a part of the Super Eagles squad to the Africa Cup of Nations. The NFF confirmed his absence amid claims by Claudio Ranieri the English club had not disrespected the African country.
With many European clubs not keen to release their players for the tournament, Watford’s denial comes as a face-saving gesture.
The NFF, in a statement, referred to the action by Watford as a club baring its fangs to push for Dennis removal from the Super Eagles. The Federation had to take action and has thus excused the forward from the Super Eagles. He was in Augustine Eguavoen’s 28-man squad to Cameroon.
Ranieri had earlier questioned Dennis’ involvement at AFCON after the Hornets lost to West Ham midweek. He revealed that Nigeria may have missed the deadline to inform Watford of their plans to pick Dennis for the tournament. The relegation-threatened side has pounced on that and decided not to release the forward.
An accusation and more denials
The Nigeria Football Federation is miffed at the lack of cooperation from Watford and its disdain for AFCON. It accused the English side battling relegation of flexing its muscles on the Super Eagles. In a statement excusing Emmanuel Dennis from the tournament, the NFF referred to Watford as a club baring its fangs.
Leaping to the defence of Watford, Claudio Ranieri said he knew the Watford and Nigeria board were discussing and that every decision is OK for him. In further denials, Ranieri claims that Watford had not disrespected AFCON. Ranieri said Watford respects everybody but blamed the NFF for its woes. Ranieri opined that despite having a lot of players, the change of managers affected everything.
According to Ranieri, Watford was ready to give Nigeria players, but that administrative error spoiled things, and for him, it is OK.
Ranieri is happy with how things have turned out for Watford and is glad that Dennis will not be part of the tournament. He claims Dennis is committed to staying at Watford, despite missing out on the competition.
The striker has scored and created 59% of the Hornet goals making him their top scorer as they fight against returning to the Championship.
This article was most recently revised and updated 6 months ago