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Like Nigeria, Watford block Sarr from Senegal AFCON duties

The Senegalese football federation (FSF) on Sunday accused Premier League side Watford of preventing forward Ismaila Sarr from playing in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

The FSF claimed Watford had displayed “disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour”.

Sarr is currently sidelined with a knee injury and has not featured for Watford since November.

“The Senegalese Football Federation wishes to express by this press release its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious and discriminatory behaviour of the leaders of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team,” an FSF statement said.

Having to free Africans is a sore point with some managers and Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti labelled the Cup of Nations an “invisible monster”.

Sarr has impressed for struggling Watford this term, scoring five goals in 12 Premier League appearances.

Watford’s handling of Sarr’s fellow forward Emmanuel Dennis has also been controversial, with Nigeria saying the English club “showed their teeth” when refusing to release him for international duty.

Meanwhile, Watford refuted accusations from the Senegalese football federation (FSF) on Sunday of preventing forward Ismaila Sarr from playing in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations.

Watford responded with their own statement, inviting the FSF to have Sarr checked by their “own independent surgeon to confirm the diagnosis and rehabilitation period.”

“In early December, the Club wrote to the Senegal Football Federation outlining the clinical diagnosis of Ismaila’s injury and immediately followed that up by supplying the MRI scans detailing the extent of the injury,” Watford’s statement said.

“After further consultation with medical experts, we informed the Federation of Ismaila’s rehabilitation process and likely timeframe of recovery.”

The Hornets handling of Sarr’s fellow forward Emmanuel Dennis has also been controversial, with Nigeria saying the English club were “baring fangs” when refusing to release him for international duty.

The tournament gets underway on January 9 and runs until February 6, clashing with the European club season.

Senegal, runners-up in 2019, are one of the favourites for the African title.

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