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the club or the selection? A “case of conscience” for players

For the first time in its history, Senegal was crowned African champions on February 6. By lifting the trophy after a final won on penalties against Egypt, Kalidou Koulibaly made a whole country proud.

On the other hand, his employer, the president of the Naples club, would surely have preferred to see the adventure of the Lions of Teranga come to an early end in the African Cup of Nations (CAN), so that the Senegalese player could resume more quickly. the Italian championship. “Don’t talk to me about [joueurs internationaux] [a]fricans. I wish them well, but (…) I never have them available. (…) Either they sign me a waiver to participate in the African Cup or else…”launched Aurelio De Laurentiis with a bang, during a broadcast, Tuesday August 2, by the economic site Wall Street Italia.

Read also: Football: the Naples club no longer wants to recruit African internationals because of the CAN

“We are the idiots who pay the salaries to send them to play for others”, added the president of Napoli. During the last edition of the CAN, his team had been deprived of its star defender, but also of another holder, the Cameroonian midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

Transferred to the Chelsea club in July, Kalidou Koulibaly was questioned at a press conference in London, the day after this interview. After first ensuring that ” no one [lui] had never asked not to participate in the CAN “ during his eight seasons in Naples, he then made his qualities as a defender speak, by tackling his former president: “Defending the colors of the national team is for me the most important thing that exists. People need to show more respect. »

Judging “irresponsible and unacceptable” Mr De Laurentiis’ remarks, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) reacted in a press release by urging its European counterpart, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), to open a disciplinary investigation against the president from Naples. But, to date, neither UEFA nor the Italian Football Federation have communicated to this effect.

“Are we to assume that the president of Napoli is going to include similar restrictive conditions for players from South America, Asia and other confederations (…) ? »asks CAF.

Unlike the other selection competitions, which are held in June-July, at a time which coincides with the truce in European club competitions, the African Cup of Nations historically takes place in January and February… in the middle of the European club season. However, the majority of African internationals who participate today in the CAN are expatriates in clubs of the Old Continent, starting with the twenty-seven Senegalese players crowned champions of Africa at the beginning of the year. Another particularity: the CAN takes place every two years, against every four years for the Euro and every three years for the Copa America (in South America) or the Asian Cup.

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