The English club Watford has decided to block the Senegalese Lions player, Ismaïla Sarr, currently injured, and not to release him to play the 33rd CAN which begins on January 9 in Cameroon. The Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) condemned “disrespectful and discriminatory behavior”.
In a statement made public, the FSF wished to “express its deep disapproval of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behavior of the leaders of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team”.
“By letter dated December 31, 2021, the English club Watford notified on the basis of arguments as specious as fallacious its decision to block the player Ismaila Sarr who has expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the next CAN Cameroon 2021 ”, writes the FSF.
“The FSF responded immediately to said correspondence to confirm the maintenance of the player’s summons and the club’s obligation to release the player by January 3, 2022 at the latest, in accordance with the FIFA exemption circular and informed of its decision to refer to the competent FIFA bodies in the event that Watford persists in his deliberate refusal to release the player for the benefit of his national team ”, continues the Senegalese body.
The Federation “wishes to express by this press release its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behavior of the leaders of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team”, adds the same source, specifying that ” Africa, its Football and its Footballers deserve the same respect as that accorded to other continents, confederations and players ”.
The press release indicates that “the Senegalese Football Federation will take all the necessary actions to ensure that the basic right of its footballers to play for their country is respected and that these practices of a time that were wrongly thought to be over are stopped.”
Senegal Lions coach Aliou Cissé published on December 24 a list of 27 players scheduled to take part in Cameroon’s Africa Cup of Nations. The team started its regrouping on December 27 in Dakar with only 18 players out of the 27 called. The lions are deprived of four of their players who play in the English championship, but also players in France. Two have also tested positive for Covid-19.
The available players are currently training at the Lat Dior stadium in Thies, near Dakar, while waiting to join Cameroon on January 4.
As a reminder, Senegal will play in Group A alongside Malawi, Guinea and Zimbabwe.