Ex Nigerian players and Kalidou Koulibaly, the new Chelsea signing, have slammed Napoli boss, Aurelio De Laurentiis over his recent comments and his plans to put an end to signing African players unless they agreed not to take part in the Africa Cup of Nation’s game.
It was recalled that De Laurentiis, Napoli owner dragged the African players on a Wall Street Italia when he said he won’t allow them to partake in the AFCON game.
“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” Napoli boss said.
“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!
“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”
“Or they sign a waiver giving up their right to participate to the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments or between AFCON and the championships in South America … I never have them Napoli players) available,” he said
However, Taribo West, one of the super Eagles star defender, who played in Serie A for Milan giants AC and Inter, faulted the comment, he said, “That is not a good idea at all. Some of these European teams were not happy when African players left for the AFCON in January, but the players returned to their clubs and fitted in. He (De Laurentiis) should not stop the African players from playing at the AFCON. It’s a pride for these players to play for their country as well.”
Dosu Joseph, the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games gold medallist, also said, “That’s (De Laurentiis) his own opinion and it is not a crime.
“I don’t think any African will want to sign for a club that will deny him a chance to represent his fatherland at the AFCON. That will be a setback for such player.”
The 2007 U-17 Nigerian star player Haruna Lukman, who captained Nigeria (super eagles) to the World Cup title in South Korea, noted De Laurentiis comments as “absurd.”
According to him “But it’s his decision,” Lookman said. “These are some of the difficulties most African players face in Europe. Such comments could encourage other Italian clubs from going for African players or include such clauses in deals before they get signed.”
Kalidou Koulibaly, the Senegal defender, who currently plays at Premier League side Chelsea FC, also expressed his displeasure over his comment.
He said “The most important thing is to respect everyone,” Koulibaly said.
“When I played there I also played for Senegal… You cannot speak of an African team like this.
“You have to have respect like you have for a European team… I respect what he thinks, it’s up to him but I think not everybody has that same idea at Napoli.”
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