Napoli Owner Reveals Condition Before Signing African Players Again
The owner of Italian Serie A football club Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentiis, said he would not sign African players any longer unless they agreed to not take part in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.
Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly – now at Premier League side Chelsea – and Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa missed several Napoli games while on international duty at this year’s AFCON, which took place between January and February.
Super Eagles of Nigeria superstar Victor Osimhen also players for Italian club Napoli.
“Enough of African players, 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,” De Laurentiis said in an interview.
“I never have them (Napoli players) available.”
De Laurentiis criticised the fact that clubs were agreeing to more and more games, suggesting a European tournament with the top clubs from the strongest five countries instead of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.
“The world of football cannot self manage because we do the puppet show for others,” De Laurentiis added.
“If we could play 100 games, it would be a happy ending for everyone and we (clubs) like cretins agree to that.”
The next edition of the AFCON tournament will take place in Ivory Coast in January 2024, having been moved from its initial schedule of June-July 2023 because of weather concerns.