AFCON: Watford forward Emmanuel Dennis will NOT play for Nigeria at the tournament

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Watford’s Nigerian star Emmanuel Dennis will MISS the Africa Cup of Nations with the in-form striker ‘excused’ from the squad after Claudio Ranieri revealed the country missed a deadline to take him to Cameroon

  • Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis has been ‘excused’ from Nigeria’s AFCON squad 
  • The striker was included in the group but Nigeria made an administrative error 
  • Claudio Ranieri said they missed a deadline to inform club of his inclusion 


Watford talisman Emmanuel Dennis will not be travelling to the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria.

The Nigeria Football Federation confirmed striker Dennis has been ‘excused’ from the squad, in a major boost for Watford.

Dennis, Watford’s eight-goal top scorer, had been included in Augustine Eguavoen’s 28-man party for the tournament in Cameroon.

Emmanuel Dennis will not link up with Nigeria at AFCON, with the striker 'excused' from duty

Emmanuel Dennis will not link up with Nigeria at AFCON, with the striker ‘excused’ from duty

Hornets boss Claudio Ranieri said Nigeria missed a deadline to inform them of his inclusion

Hornets boss Claudio Ranieri said Nigeria missed a deadline to inform them of his inclusion

However, head coach Claudio Ranieri raised doubts about Dennis’s involvement by revealing Nigeria may have missed the deadline to inform the Hornets of their intention to select him and that administration error gave Watford a choice whether or not to release him for international duty.

A statement from the Nigeria Football Federation on Friday morning confirmed Dennis would now no longer be heading to the tournament and he has been replaced in the squad.

They said: ‘In-form rapid raider Emmanuel Dennis whose English Premier League club is baring fangs, has been excused.’

Dennis is Watford's top scorer this term and his presence will be a boost for survival hopes

Dennis is Watford’s top scorer this term and his presence will be a boost for survival hopes

There are also suggestions that a lack of assurance about the role he was due to play at AFCON also played a part in the decision to release Dennis from the squad.

Watford 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.

And they will now have the scorer or creator of 59 per cent of their goals this season available at a key time in their bid to beat the drop.

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