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Napoli President Says He Will No Longer Sign African Players ‘Unless They Sign Africa Cup Of Nations Agreement'

Jack Kenmare

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Napoli President Says He Will No Longer Sign African Players ‘Unless They Sign Africa Cup Of Nations Agreement'

Featured Image Credit: WSI Smart Talk/Twitter

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has declared he will no longer sign any more African players ‘unless they sign an agreement backing out of the Africa Cup of Nations’.

Earlier this year, Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who recently joined Chelsea, appeared at this year's AFCON alongside Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa.

The pair missed a number of Napoli games when they were away on international duty between January and February.

Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt with official referee Victor Gomes pose for photo during the Africa Cup of Nations Final between Senegal and Egypt. Image: Alamy
Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal and Mohamed Salah of Egypt with official referee Victor Gomes pose for photo during the Africa Cup of Nations Final between Senegal and Egypt. Image: Alamy

Months later and De Laurentiis appeared on a live stream with Wall Street Italia when he gave his views on African players featuring at the biennial tournament.

“I told them lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” said De Laurentiis during the event via Football Italia.

“I love them, but either they sign something confirming they’ll back out of playing the Africa Cup of Nations, or otherwise between that tournament, the World Cup qualifiers in South America, these players are never available!

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

ESPN quote the 73-year-old as saying: "Or they sign a waiver giving up their right to participate to the Africa Cup of Nations tournaments or between AFCON and the championships in South America.

"I never have them [Napoli players] available."

Andre Zambo Anguissa of Cameroon during the Africa Cup of Nations play offs semi final match between Cameroon and Egypt. Image credit: Alamy
Andre Zambo Anguissa of Cameroon during the Africa Cup of Nations play offs semi final match between Cameroon and Egypt. Image credit: Alamy

In the chat with WSL, De Laurentiis also claims to have turned down an offer of $900m to buy Serie A side Napoli from American investors.

“In recent years these investment funds have become fashionable, they have to guarantee their investors a certain revenue within five years," he said.

“They saw that football is a great opportunity and they can double their investment by selling clubs to investment funds in future. That’s what Milan and Inter have done, right?

“I am assailed by funds, I can’t take it anymore. In 2017-18, an American fund offered me $900m to sell Napoli. But they don’t realise I am this pure entrepreneur who enjoys playing the game, so let me keep playing."

Topics: Napoli, Serie A, Africa Cup Of Nations

Jack Kenmare
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