Senegal coach Aliou Cisse says international football – and the Africa Cup of Nations in particular – should never play second fiddle to club commitments and has ‘challenged’ Napoli not to buy African players.
The 46-year-old’s comments come after Napoli owner and president Aurelio de Laurentiis said the Italian club will avoid signing any more African players unless they agree not to play in the biennial tournament.
“A football player can play for 12 teams, say, but will only have one national team,” Cisse told BBC Sport Africa.
“Clubs will never have more importance than our national teams and flag. And if a Senegalese player is skilled and playing in Europe, I will call him to defend the national colors.
I admire (De Laurentiis) a lot, but I challenge them to try to avoid signing African players.
Due to the Nations Cup’s customary January and February dates, European clubs have frequently been compelled to release players in the midst of the current campaign.
The 2021 Nations Cup is being held this year in Cameroon. Napoli lost defender Kalidou Koulibaly and midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa to calls ups for the tournament last season, and the two missed six club games.
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