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Napoli President will not sign African players unless they agree to not play in AFCON

‘We are the idiots who pay salaries…these players are NEVER available!’: Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis says ‘don’t talk to me about Africans anymore’ and condemns the lack of availability of stars during AFCON in an extraordinary diatribe

  • Aurelio De Laurentiis made a remarkable diatribe about signing African players
  • 73-year-old regrets paying players to play against AFCON mid-season
  • Napoli’s two African players are Victor Osimhen and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Remarkably, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has stated that he will not attract African players to the club unless they agree not to play in the African Cup of Nations.

The 73-year-old says he “loves Napoli’s African players” but regrets having to pay them so much for the time they are gone.

‘I told them, boys, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!’ said De Laurentiis at a streamed event.

Aurelio De Laurentiis wants to be able to dictate when African players represent their country

Aurelio De Laurentiis wants to be able to dictate when African players represent their country

“I love them, but either they sign something confirming that they won’t compete in the Africa Cup of Nations again, or between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

“We are the idiots who pay salaries to send them all over the world to play for others.”

Last season, Napoli Kalidou Koulibaly lost to the AFCON and the central defender went all out with Senegal and won the tournament. The 31-year-old has now signed for Chelsea.

Former Fulham player Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa represented Cameroon during the tournament while on loan at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Napoli still made Zambo Anguissa's loan permanent despite a new AFCON looming

Napoli still made Zambo Anguissa’s loan permanent despite a new AFCON looming

Osimhen has become Napoli's number one hit man since he came out of Lille in 2020

Osimhen has become Napoli’s number one hit man since he came out of Lille in 2020

Ironically, Napoli finalized his loan in May, clear before De Laurentiis formed his stance.

The Serie A star striker is Victor Osimhen, but he did not play for Nigeria in the AFCON earlier this year.

Napoli announced that an attack from COVID would deter the prolific forward from representing the Super Eagles, but his withdrawal from the roster and its timing raised some eyebrows in Nigeria.

Victor Osimhen controversially missed this year's AFCON and in January all eyes will be on

Victor Osimhen controversially missed this year’s AFCON and in January all eyes will be on

Kalidou Koulibaly (left) and Zambo Anguissa both still played for Napoli 30 times or more

Kalidou Koulibaly (left) and Zambo Anguissa both still played for Napoli 30 times or more

Osimhen scored 18 times in 32 games last season. He played twice more than Zambo Anguissa, but twice less than Koulibaly.

The top shaper of Napoli, which finished third in Serie A last season, was midfielder Elif Elmas with 46.

The AFCON only takes place every two years and lasts about a month in January. The 2021 tournament was played this year because COVID prevented it from happening the year before, so there will be back-to-back tournaments with the 2023 edition in January.

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