[object Window]: Nigeria preparations hit by Covid-19, injuries and Watford 'baring fangs'

Nigeria’s [object Window] (AFCON) preparations have been hit by the loss of four players due to a mixture of Covid-19, injuries andadministrative reasons,” with the tournament just over a week away.

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen has tested positive for Covid-19, the Serie A club said on Thursday, while injuries have ruled out defenders Abdullahi Shehu, who plays in Cyprus for AC Omonia, and Glasgow RangersLeon Balogun, according to the AFCON website.
Meanwhile Watford manager Claudio Ranieri has denied his club has disrespected the tournament following an announcement by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) that striker Emmanuel Dennis has beenexcused.AFCON’s website described his omission as due toadministrative reasons.
    However Nigeria’s official Instagram的 account on Friday said the English Premier League club had beenbaring fangsover Dennis, who had been named in the three-time African champion’s squad on Christmas Day.
      Health concerns, injuries constrain changes to Nigeria’s final 28-man list for AFCON 2021,read the NFF’s Instagram post on Friday.
        Speaking ahead of Watford’s home game against Tottenham Hotspur on New Year’s Day, Watford manager Ranieri said that the club had been “准备” to allow Dennis to be selected and suggested that the NFF missed the deadline to call up the forward.
        “没有 [we have not disrespected [AFCON], we respect everybody,” Ranieri told reporters on Friday.
          “他们 [奈及利亚] have a lot of players and they change the manager, then we change everything and then we were readywe knew.
          We were ready to give the playersthey didn’t do this. Then the two boards spoke and then for me it’s OK.
          Ranieri said that the 24-year-old Dennis, who is enjoying a stellar 超级联赛 season with eight goals and four assists, told him that hewanted to goto the tournament, but also thathe wanted to help Watford.
          Neither Watford nor the NFF immediately responded to CNN’s request for comment.
          Victor Osimhen of SSC Napoli controls the ball during the Serie A match agaisnt Hellas Verona FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on November 07, 2021 in Naples, 意大利.

          ‘Tinged with racism

          星期四, former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright said that media coverage of Europe-based players traveling to the Africa Cup of Nations wasdisrespectful” 和 “tinged with racism.
          With several high-profile Premier League stars set to represent their countries at the tournamentincluding Liverpool trio Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, as well as Chelsea goalkeeper Eduoard MendyWright highlighted the contrast to the way in which the 2020 European Championship was covered last year.
          Is there ever a tournament more disrespected than the Africa Cup of Nations?,” Wright said in a video posted on his Instagram on Wednesday.
          There is no greater honor — 没有, as a sportspersonthan representing your country. The coverage is completely tinged with racism.
          We played our Euros across 10 countries in the middle of a pandemic and there’s no issue at all. But Cameroon, a single country hosting a tournament, is a problem.
          You are getting journalists asking playersplayers getting askedif they will be honoring the call-ups to their national teams. Imagine if that was an English player representing the Three Lionscan you imagine the furore?”
            Hosted by Cameroon, AFCON’s 33rd edition runs from January 9 少年神童 6.
            Nigeria is in Group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau. Nigeria’s first match is against Egypt in Garoua on January 9.

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