AFC Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe
Wednesday Jan 04, 2017. 13:30
Despite media reports suggesting that FC Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe has decided to play for DRC in the upcoming 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations tournament, he is now not going to Gabon.
The Democratic Republic of Congo striker has revealed his reasons for staying with the Cherries and why he turned down an offer to head to the continental tournament.
The 23-year-old was selected in DR Congo’s provisional squad for the tournament in Gabon, but has decided to stay with the Cherries to aid his improvement as a player.
“For the last couple of months I have been talking to my family and thinking about what is best for my development,” explained Afobe.
“I have a lot of respect for everyone at DR Congo: the staff there, the players and fans. It’s a massive tournament for everyone, but thinking about my development and being at this stage in my career where I’m trying to establish myself in my first full Premier League season, I just want to keep improving.
“I have a great opportunity here now and I think by going away and missing six or seven weeks it could hamper my season personally and for the team.
“I spoke to the manager Florent Ibenge over the phone and that’s something I wanted to do myself to show respect. We spoke and he said that he understood.
“He said he was a player himself and that he understands the situation I am in, he hopes that I can keep improving and getting more minutes with Bournemouth.
“Everything’s been left in a good way and I’ll be watching every game the team play in the tournament and hoping to do as well as possible.”
Afobe scored his second English Premier League goal of the season in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Swansea City and is confident that he is still developing as a player.