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You’re Nothing Without Mane, Salah, Senegal’s Cisse Blasts Klopp Over AFCON Comment

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Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse, has slammed Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, over his comments on the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Cisse suggested that Klopp is nothing without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in his Liverpool squad, adding that the German owed his success to players from Africa.

Last month, Klopp caused a stir as he described the AFCON as a ‘small tournament’ after Liverpool’s Premier League 4-0 victory against Arsenal.

Asked if he was relieved there was no international break until March next year, Klopp replied: “I have heard that so often that there is no international break until March.

“In January, there Is a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games too, South America as well, great, can’t wait.”

Liverpool are set to lose some of their players, including Salah, Mane and Naby Keita for the AFCON 2021 tournament, which runs from January 9 to February 6, 2022.

While Klopp subsequently backtracked, Cisse, who played in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Portsmouth, felt the Reds boss had shown a lack of respect for the AFCON, adding that he doesn’t respect him.

“Who does he [Jurgen Klopp] think he’s? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool,” Cisse told broadcaster iTV Senegal.

“I respect Liverpool but not Klopp who undermines African football events. He’s where he is today because of African footballers.

“He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final.”

Meanwhile, Speaking after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League last week, Klopp clarified his comments had been misinterpreted.

“I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that,” Klopp told a journalist, who had suggested his comments had offended African players and fans.

“It is not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.

“What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way.”

He added, “There is still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I’m not a native speaker, but if you want to understand me wrong you can do that all the time. I know that I would never think like this.”

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NFF’s Poor Relationship With Napoli Behind Osimhen’s Absence At AFCON 2021, Okpara Insists

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Former Nigerian defender, Godwin Okpara has attributed Super Eagles striker, Victor Osimhen’s absence from the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as a result of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) poor communication with Napoli.

The Nigerian international was ruled out for three months after surgery, which prevented him from representing Nigeria at the tournament.

However, Osimhen returned to action for the first time in two months, coming on as a substitute for Belgium international Dries Mertens in the 71st-minute.

Reacting to this development, Okpara told Brila FM that the NFF failed to create a good relationship with Napoli and that he could have feature in the Super Eagles last Group D game against Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday.

“It was a blow for us when we had that Osimhen won’t be part of the Nations Cup. And it is also a blow for Nigeria to hear that he’s back playing now.

“This shows that there is no intimate communication between the NFF and the Napoli officials . Had it been that there was good communication, it would have been possible for him to participate at AFCON.”

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Guinea-Bissau Goalie Mendes: We’re Motivated To Beat Nigeria

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Guinea- Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes says the Djurtus will go all out for a win against the Super Eagles in their Group D clash at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Both teams will do battle at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua on Wednesday.

Guinea-Bissau need win to stay in the competition after earning one point from their opening two games.

The Super Eagles are already through to the next round after two wins against Egypt and Sudan.

“It’s very important for us to get our first victory in AFCON. Tomorrow we are going do our best to win,” Mendes told a press conference on Tuesday

“I know it is going to be a tough game but we know all we need is to get three points.

“The last game was tough for us but as professionals we know how to get out of such situation.

“We are motivated to face Nigeria,to qualify for next round. We want to make our people happy”

The Super Eagles have a number of quality players in their ranks which will make the task a bit harder for Guinea-Bissau.

Mendes however stated that they are not going to single out any player for special attention.

“We are preparing for all Super Eagles players, one player can’t win 11 opponent, we know Nigeria have strong attack,”he added.

“We are going to attack as one and defend as one.”

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Hazard Rejects Move To Chelsea

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Eden Hazard has turned down a move to Newcastle United, despite Real Madrid accepting an offer of £33.4million, plus £8.3m in add-ons, according to El Nacional.

The 30-year-old has endured a miserable time in Spain since he arrived from Chelsea in 2019 for an initial fee of £88 million.

Hazard’s form has been hampered with a series of injuries and a lack of form.

As a result, the Belgium captain has fallen down the pecking order, with Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo preferred by Carlo Ancelotti.

Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, is believed to have accepted an offer of €40 million (£33.4 million), plus €10 million (£8.3 million) in add-ons, from Newcastle.

However, Hazard has snubbed the Magpies’ approach, insisting he will only leave for a ‘big’ club, such as Chelsea.

The Blues have long been linked with a reunion with Hazard, who shone at Stamford Bridge over his seven-year spell, scoring 110 goals and providing 92 assists in 352 appearances for the club.

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