Nigeria assistant coach Usman Abdallah has lashed out at Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis in the wake of his comments about the Africa Cup of Nations.
During an interview with Smart Talk on Wall Street Italia, the veteran Serie A boss said he will now make African players sign an undertaking that they will not participate in Afcon before they get to wear the Parthenopeans jersey.
Napoli and Nigeria’s Victor Oshimen did not travel to play in Afcon as the club announced that the Covid-19 virus would keep the forward away from action.
“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” he said in part of his remarks.
“We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.”
This triggered the former Enyimba coach when speaking to GOAL about the remarks.
“I think he needs to come out, to tell the truth, using the Africa Cup of Nations as a yardstick is not a good excuse,” Abdallah told GOAL.
“Are Napoli players not participating in Uefa Euro, Uefa Nations League and even Copa America? Or are they not the same as Afcon?
“It would have been understandable if he said Napoli’s African players who get injured at Afcon are not well taken care of, or maybe when their players play in the competition, they violate certain rules.
“Even at that, his statement shows a lack of respect for Africa and it is stupid to say that. It is so disheartening that someone of his calibre can make such a statement.
“Some will tag this as racism because he only mentioned Africans and not players from other continents.”
Echoing this sentiment is former Nigeria captain Mutiu Adepoju who claims that the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona giants would be the biggest losers if they execute their conditions.
“They will be the biggest losers because African players have played a key role in their history,” Adepoju told GOAL.
“Before Khalidou [Koulibaly] moved to Chelsea, he played a key role for the club. That can be said of [Andre-Frank] Zambo Anguissa down to [Victor] Osimhen. These players have proven that players from Africa are quality.”