Sebastian Haller is the latest to kick against the “disrespect” shown by Europeans towards the African Cup of Nations.
COVID is currently ripping throughout Europe and the restrictions from the thick of the pandemic are back in many countries.
A few African nations have been red-listed by some European countries and why this move is causing eyebrows to be raised on the political scene, European clubs are looking to take advantage of this to prevent their players from leaving for Afcon.
The 27-year-old former France youth international who declared for the country of his mother’s birth in 2020, was asked by a correspondent of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf if he would answer Cote d’Ivoire’s call to represent them at Afcon.
Furiously, he replied, “This question shows the disrespect for Africa. Would this question ever get asked to a European player ahead of the EUROs?
“Of course I am going to the Africa Cup [of Nations]. This tournament was actually supposed to be held in the summer, but was postponed due to Covid.
“Of course I will go to the Africa Cup to represent Ivory Coast. That is the highest honour.”
“I hate having to choose,” Haller says
Haller’s outburst is as a result of the way African players across Europe have been asked to choose between club and country.
Many prominent African footballers have spoken out against the “belittling” of the tournament. Emmanuel Adebayor, former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham forward who was captain of the Togolese national team even came out to claim that no coach would have stopped him from going for Afcon in his time.
“There is no coach in the world that can prevent me from playing at the Afcon,” Adebayor is quoted as saying by GHANAsoccernet.
“It’s disgusting that some persons are trying to prevent the African players from playing at the Afcon.”
Haller echoed Adebayor’s sentiments. To his earlier comments, he added: “I hate having to choose between my country and my club. That’s really s***.
“This situation is very frustrating. I hate having to choose between my country and my club. That’s really s***.”
Watford looking to block Emmanuel Dennis from Afcon
Elsewhere, Watford boss Claudio Ranieri is trying to block his star man Emmanuel Dennis from travelling with Nigeria to the Afcon tournament in January.
Ranieri claims that the Nigerian Football Federation sent the notice late and as a result, they may not be granted access to Dennis.
“The email didn’t arrive at the right moment. The national team has a time to send a pre-call. They didn’t respect the days, and I want to see,” Ranieri said.
“They have a time when they need to send a pre-call; if they don’t send it, we can choose.
“I’m not so sure I will miss him now, I don’t know if he will go. Let’s think about it this week, and then I will tell you.”