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‘Don’t talk to me about Africans anymore’: Napoli owner

African players representing their respective nations at afcon tournaments will no longer be considered to sign for Italian giants Napoli. This is according to club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who is now at Chelsea, and Cameroon midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa missed several Napoli games while on international duty at this year’s AFCON in Cameroon.

The 2023 edition was supposed to be held in June, but it has been postponed to January 2024 due to weather conditions in Ivory Coast.

It means African players often have to miss several games during the period of the season, which frustrates De Laurentiis.

Speaking on a Wall Street Italia talk show, De Laurentiis said: “Guys don’t talk to me about Africans anymore,” he said.

“I love them, but either they sign a waiver and pull out of playing in the Afcon because otherwise, between the Afcon and the Copa America (players), they’re never available. We are the suckers who pay their wage.”

“The world of football cannot self-manage because we do the puppet show for others. If we could play 100 games, it would be a happy ending for everyone, and we (clubs) like cretins agree to that,” he said.

Napoli still have three African players on their books in Cameroon’s Zambo Anguissa, Algeria’s Adam Ounas and Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen.

De Laurentiis, who has owned Napoli since 2004, also criticised the general structure of the football calendar.

He believes football clubs shouldn’t be playing 50 games a year and revealed he was not an admirer of UEFA’s European competitions and did not back the idea of a Super League.

“The world of football doesn’t know how to manage itself. It puts on a bit of theatre for others,” added De Laurentiis.

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