Tue. May 17th, 2022
Manchester evening news.

The Premier League side Watford, was accused of threatening Nigerian forward Emmanuel Dennis, as they succeeded in their attempts to stop him from representing his country at the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Watford head coach Claudio Ranieri,  revealed after his side’s 4-1 defeat to West Ham on December 28 that the Super Eagles had submitted a late request to release the 24-year-old striker for the tournament in Cameroon.
Ranieri further claimed that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) didn’t “respect” protocols, which meant the Premier League club had the final say on the matter involving Dennis’ participation at the African showpiece.

The NFF subsequently released a statement on Instagram declaring that the “in-form rapid raider, whose Premiership club is baring fangs, has been excused to provide room for Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka” in Augustine Eguavoen’s squad.

Eguavoen went on to suggest that the club had been playing hardball with the Nigeria international, who was keen to play for his country at AFCON 2021.

“He said he tried his best and I know he tried his best. We tried to reach out to the club, but they insisted they would not allow him to go and Dennis also told me that the club are doing everything possible for him not to be at the AFCON,” Eguavoen told ESPN.

“That is why we had to wait until the last second to push the button. Dennis said he wanted to come, but his club were threatening him, so what do we do? If a player doesn’t want to come, we have to play with what we have.”

In a swift reaction, Watford coach Claudio Ranieri reveals the reasons why Dennis withdrew from the Nigeria contingent on Friday, saying that Eguavoen had quotes to paint the picture clearer to Super Eagles’ fans.

Before Watford’s game against Tottenham, the Italian gaffer told the press Dennis was divided within himself whether to stay and help Watford or travel with Nigeria.

And after their 1-0 defeat to Spurs, he was asked to respond to the strong comments by Eguavoen and the veteran coach said, “Look I think Nigeria had to speak to the Board and not the manager. I am the manager, the player stays here I’m happy and for me, it’s finished”.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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