Watford manager Claudio Ranieri insists his club did not disrespect Nigeria in the wake of the omission of Emmanuel Dennis from the AFCON party.
Dennis has been ‘excused’ due to the clear stubborn posture of Watford in refusing to release him for national duties.
Ranieri had claimed on Wednesday that Nigeria failed to e-mail the Hornets in time about releasing the two-time player of the month.
Many Nigerian fans have expressed deep anger at the ‘bullying tactics’ employed by Watford and the eventual ‘capitulation of the NFF.
The NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire Friday accused the relegation-threatened South England side of ‘baring fangs’ ahead of the frontman’s removal from the squad.
But Ranieri insists no fire lines were crossed in holding on to Dennis.
“I knew they were speaking, the Watford board and Nigeria board and I accept every decision they fine and that for me is finished.
“No [we have not disrespected AFCON].
We respect everybody.
They have a lot of players and they changed the manager then changed everything.
“We were ready to give them players.
They didn’t do this and the two boards spoke and for me it’s ok.
I am only the manager, the coach and I accept everything,” Ranieri quipped.
Meanwhile, it is being reported that Dennis eventually backed out from insisting on going to Cameroun.
This is because the Eagles technical crew did not give guarantees that he would have a starting spot for the three-times AFCON champions.
Ranieri said as far as he was concerned, Dennis made the right professional decision.
“Of course he wanted to go to play but also he wanted to help Watford.
Watford are marred in an increasingly messy season after being torn to shreds this week by West Ham United.
They play two league games plus an FA Cup tie between the date Dennis would have departed and the AFCON final.
They include crucial bottom-of-the-table battles against Newcastle and Norwich.
Mazino Dickson/Daily Mail
Ranieri claims no wrong-doing in Dennis AFCON omission