'They blocked my Afcon call-up, I left'

World News

An African star has revealed that he left his former club in January because they denied him a call-up to represent his country at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. 

Nigeria forwards Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo were both denied the opportunity to represent their country at Afcon in Cameroon as their respective clubs at the time refused to release them for the tournament.

In the former's case, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) accused Watford of "baring fangs" for their refusal to release Dennis, while the Hornets argued that the NFF did not submit their request for the player in time for the tournament, per Sky Sports.

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Fellow Super Eagles star Ighalo has now revealed that there was bad blood between him and his club at the time, Al Shabab, after they failed to issue him an exit visa in order for him to travel to Cameroon, leading to his exit.

"I was not happy with them and we decided to part ways because the Nations Cup that I didn't go to caused a lot of bad blood," the former Manchester United striker told ESPN.

"Four hours until my flight [to Cameroon], they had not sent me the exit visa. I called the team manager, and he told me they did not get an invitation. But I had a copy of the invitation that was sent because they copied me in the email.

"We had all this back and forth going on, I changed the ticket to the next day, and then the third day, and they still did not send me the visa. At that point, I knew they did not want me to go.

"My anger was that they should have told me straight up, not smiling in my face one day and then acting a different way.

"That is why I decided to leave."

Read: Mane's plea to Liverpool after Afcon triumph

The former Red Devils forward left the Saudi Arabian club late last month to join their rivals Al Hilal on a one-and-a-half-year deal at a reported fee of €2.9 million (R49 million), and featured in their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final against eventual champions Chelsea earlier this month.

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