Nigeria accuse Watford of ‘baring fangs’ after Emmanuel Dennis misses Afcon

Claudio Ranieri has insisted Watford have not disrespected the Africa Cup of Nations after Emmanuel Dennis was confirmed as missing the tournament. Nigeria accused Watford of “baring fangs” after confirming the striker had not made their 28-man squad.

Ranieri remains adamant Watford and Nigeria executives thrashed out the situation between them, with the end result that Dennis will remain at Vicarage Road. Nigeria missed the deadline to request Dennis’s release from Watford, but have since expressed frustrations in a statement on Instagram which Ranieri has moved to downplay.

Watford’s manager, asked whether the club had disrespected Afcon by refusing Dennis’s release, replied: “No, no. No, we respect everybody. They have a lot of players, and they changed the manager then they change everything, and then we were ready.

“We knew we were ready to give the players, but they didn’t do this. And then the two boards spoke and then for me it’s OK. I am only the manager, only the coach, and I accept everything.”

The Super Eagles confirmed their Afcon squad on social media on Friday, saying in a statement: “In-form rapid raider Emmanuel Dennis, whose English club Watford is baring fangs, has been excused to provide room for Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka.”

Ranieri remains confident Dennis is happy with the situation. “I knew they were speaking, the board and Nigeria board, and I accept every decision they find, and that, for me, is finished,” he said.

“I’ve spoken with him, of course he wanted to go, to play, but he also wanted to help Watford. I accept the decision of the board and the Nigeria team.”