Aurelio de Laurentiis, the owner and president of Napoli, has vowed that the team will no longer sign African players unless they sign a waiver stating they will not compete in the African 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. When they were away on international duty between January and February, the duo missed a number of Napoli games.
Months later, De Laurentiis made an appearance on a live stream with Wall Street Italia to discuss the participation of African players in 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.”
De Laurentiis, who has a family history in cinema, is notorious for dramatic and jaw-dropping outbursts. Napoli still has three African players on its books: Nigeria forward Victor Osimhen, Cameroon midfielder André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Algeria midfielder Adam Ounas.