By Filemon Haininga

Italy – Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis on Tuesday made surprising comments assuring that as long as he is in charge, the Italian club will no longer sign any African players because of the AFCON tournament in the middle of the season and that any African player who joined the Serie A club should make a commitment to skip the tournament.

Laurentiis told Wall Street Italia that any African player who joined the Serie A club should make a commitment to skip the tournament. He will only sign African players if they agree to give up representing their countries at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 73-year-old Napoli boss stressed that though he ‘love Napoli’s African players, he’s disappointed by pay them so much for the amount of time they are away. “We are the idiots who pay salaries only to send them all over the world playing for others.” He said.

Last season, Napoli were unable to count on Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Cameroon player Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa for the month of January, as they were away with their national team for the continental tournament.

Kalidou Koulibaly who recently moved to Chelsea has condemned plans by Laurentiis to tell new signings they must agree not to play in the Africa Cup of Nations. He added that De Laurentiis was out of line with his remarks, and claimed the views would not be endorsed by many others at the club.

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