Nigeria interim head coach Austine Eguavoen says Emmanuel Dennis was forced to pull out of the country’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations squad by Watford.
Watford claimed Dennis’ invitation for the competition came late and threatened not to release him.
The 24-year-old was replaced in the 28-man squad on Friday by Slavia Prague’s Peter Olayinka.
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“Dennis told me that his club had done everything humanly possible for him not be at the Afcon,” Eguavoen told NFF TV.
“I can’t force it, I reported the matter to authority and they also tried, that was why we had to wait until the last second before we pushed the button.
“Dennis said he wanted to come but the club are threatening him. What do we do if a player does not want to come, we have to play with what we have. Based on that, I like the enthusiasm because I only informed Onyekuru once and he was happy about it.
“Initially, he has been an integral part of this team and I felt bad that some of them wouldn’t be around but decisions have to be made. Onuachu, Onyekuru, Ebuehi, and few other ones and as soon as that opening was there, Shehu Abdullahi also said that the report came out that he’s been injured and he’s going to be out for 10 days to two weeks and we reached out to Tyronne and he was happy too.”