Nigeria striker, Victor Osimhen, may miss another Africa Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire in 2024.
This will be if Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis insists on not allowing his players attend the biennial tournament.
The Italian side have just sold Senegalese star Kalidou Koulibaly to Chelsea, but it appears that the Napoli chief does not want to sign any stars in his squad that are wanting to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Osimhen controversially missed out on AFCON earlier this year, and De Laurentiis wants his other African players to follow suit.
The 73-year-old has incredibly said that he “loves” Napoli’s African players, but does not think it’s fair to pay them so well due to the time they spend away on international duty.
After Koulibaly left, that now leaves just VOsimhen and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who represent African sides, and De Laurentiis has vowed not to sign any other star who wishes to take part in the tournament.
“I told them, lads, don’t talk to me about Africans anymore!” said De Laurentiis during a streamed event.
“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.”
Koulibaly was a vital part of Senegal’s AFCON winning side earlier this year, but De Laurentiis was clearly unhappy with the amount of time he spent away from Naples.
And Koulibaly hit out at De Laurentiis’ comments, saying: “For me the most important thing is to respect everybody.
“I always respect everybody.
“When I played there I was playing also for Senegal, and I won the AFCON.
“It’s true that it was a difficult moment for them when we went to the AFCON, but I’m really happy today (to have won).
“We have to respect the national team also.
“You cannot speak about an African national team like this, I think.
“You have to have respect like you have for the other national teams.
“As captain of Senegal, I think it’s not a good way to speak about the national team, but I respect what he thinks.
“If he thinks the team can play without African players, it’s up to him.”
Anguissa also represented Cameroon at the tournament while he was on loan at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but the midfielder has since been signed on a permanent deal.
After the 73-year-old made his stance clear, there is now doubt over Anguissa’s future with the national team.
Osimhen did not make the trip to Cameroon earlier this year as it was announced that COVID has restricted him from representing Nigeria.
However, the authenticity of the claims were questioned by the Super Eagles, especially as he was meant to be their star player.
The striker scored 18 times in 32 games for Napoli last season, and at the age of just 23, he is seen as the future of Nigeria.
But he’s caught in a difficult position due to the stance of De Laurentiis.
The Napoli president has also called the 2022 winter World Cup “super bulls*** of the century” as his problem with international tournaments continue.
Nigeria haven’t qualified, meaning that Osimhen will stay, but Cameroon have, which could be an issue with Anguissa.