Watford's Emmanuel Dennis
Monday Jan 03, 2022. 15:00
Hornets 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, which runs from January 9 to February 6.
Ranieri claimed 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 the Hertfordshire outfit 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.”