AFCON 2021: Relief for Senegal as Watford release key player after row

AFCON 2021: Relief for Senegal as Watford release key player after row

Rene Otinga
updated at April 12, 2023 at 7:53 PM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • Ismaila Sarr has finally been released by Watford to join his national team in Cameroon
  • The 23-year old has been injured since November 2021 and was not among the substitutes in Watford’s last two games
  • Watford had initially been sceptical about releasing him as they claimed he was yet to fully recover from his injury
  • Senegal, on the other hand, accused the relegation-threatened side of hoarding their player

Senegal can breathe a huge sigh of relief after their star man Ismaila Sarr was released by Watford on Tuesday, January 4 to join his country ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations.

AFCON 2021
Senegal finally have their man as Ismaila Sarr is released by Watford to join the national team in Cameroon. (Photo by Alex Pantling.
Source: Getty Images

The Senegalese Football Federation disclosed that the 23-year old had taken an Air France flight from London and would arrive in Cameroon in due time.

This came after Watford claimed Sarr was still injured and was on the road to recovery as Senegal accused the Premier League outfit of refusing to release their player for the tournament.

Sarr has not featured for Watford since November 2021 after suffering knee ligament damage, with the club going to the lengths of asking Senegal to invite their own medics to assess the midfielder to prove that indeed he was not fully recovered.

As per the FIFA rules, any player that has received an international call-up must be released by his club, regardless of whether he has an injury or not.

If the player has an injury, he should still be released and assessed by his country’s own medical staff.

Senegal, who are considered one of the favourites to win the Africa Cup of Nations, will now breathe a sigh of relief as they have a potent squad to choose from.

On Sunday, Liverpool star Sadio Mane and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy were spotted together on a plane bound for Africa, just hours after they had battled each other in the Premier League in the Chelsea vs Liverpool fixture.

Senegal were runners up in the 2019 edition, losing out to Algeria in the final.

Their first assignment in the delayed Africa Cup of Nations will be against Zimbabwe on Monday, January 10.

Group B also features the likes of Guines and Malawi

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Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and