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Afcon 2021: Senegal win as Watford release Sarr for tournament

10:56 WAT 05/01/2022
Ismaila Sarr of Senegal during the international friendly match match between Senegal and Bosnia Herzegovina on March 27, 2018 in Le Havre, France
The Hornets had earlier claimed the 23-year-old was injured but the Lions of Teranga threatened to report them to the authorities

Senegal have managed to secure the services of winger Ismaila Sarr ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations kick-off in Cameroon.

The 23-year-old was yet to link up with the Lions of Teranga squad after parent and Premier League side Watford claimed he was injured and not ready to take part in the competition.

Senegal then accused Watford of failure to release the player and threatened to follow up the matter with Fifa.

They have now confirmed the player has already left London to link up with the team before they depart for Cameroon in readiness for their Group B opening fixture against Zimbabwe.

“Ismaila Sarr joins the team tonight before the departure to Cameroon,” Senegal confirmed on their social media pages.

On accusing Watford, Senegal said in a statement signed by the Senegal Football Federation general secretary Victor Seh Cisse: “The English club Watford notified on the basis of spurious arguments its decision to block the player Ismaila Sarr, who has expressed his desire to join the Senegalese selection for the Cup of Nations.

“The FSF responded immediately to confirm the player's call-up and the club's obligation to release the player by no later than January 3.

“Furthermore, the West Africans threatened to take the matter up to Fifa should 'Watford persist in its deliberate refusal to release the player.

“The FSF wishes to express its deep condemnation of the disrespectful, pernicious, and discriminatory behaviour of Watford who seek by all means to prevent a player from playing with his national team.

“Africa, its football, and its footballers deserve the same respect as that accorded to other continents, confederations, and players. The FSF will take all the necessary action to ensure that the basic right of its footballers to play for their country is respected.”

Apart from Sarr, Watford, who are currently struggling in the Premier League, managed to stop Nigeria’s Emmanuel Dennis from taking part in Cameroon.

Apart from Zimbabwe, Senegal have also been pooled alongside Guinea, Malawi and they will open their campaign with a game against the Warriors at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium Kouekong on January 10.