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Sports News of Thursday, 30 December 2021

Source: punchng.com

‘Ranieri can’t stop Dennis from AFCON’ - Punch Newspapers

Dennis Emmanuel Dennis Emmanuel

A top official of the Nigeria Football Federations has dismissed Watford manager Claudio Ranieri’s claims that Super Eagles striker, Dennis Emmanuel, may not be released for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Dennis has been incredible despite Watford’s poor form, scoring eight goals and assisting five, a feat only bettered by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the Premier League’s goal involvements this season.

Ranieri is reluctant to lose his key man and as such is looking to hold on to the player and prevent him from attending the AFCON in January.

Speaking after the Hornets 4-1 defeat to West Ham on Tuesday, the Italian manager said the invitation from the NFF came very late, adding that they were working to see if they could stop Dennis from going to the tournament.

“I’m not so sure I will miss him now. I don’t know if he goes,” Ranieri told Watford Observer.

“Let’s think about it this week, and then I will tell you.

“The national team has time to send their pre-call, they don’t respect the days, and I want to see very well.

“I know the email arrived late, and I want to know everything. The email arrived late to call him. The national team has a time. During this time, they have to send the pre-call. If they don’t send the pre-call, we can choose.”

Reacting to Ranieri’s statement, a top NFF official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Well, let’s wait and see how it goes. We all know the gimmicks of the European coaches and how they try to prevent their players from honouring international matches.”

“So, you expect such from them but let’s see how this ends. I know that Dennis will be available for the tournament.”

Nigeria begin their quest to win a fourth African title against Egypt on January 2022 at the  Stade Omnisport de Garoua.