AC Milan in talks with Nigeria FA to delay Chukwueze’s release for AFCON

Italian giants AC Milan have reportedly reached out to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on possibly delaying the arrival of Samuel Chukwueze for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

The Rossoneri could be without the Nigerian winger for one month when he joins the Super Eagles for the tournament which starts on January 13.

However, Milan want Chukwueze to be available for their next two games before reporting for international duty for the AFCON.

Chukwueze could join Super Eagles camp after January 3

Sky Italia’s Peppe Di Stefano reports that manager Stefano Pioli is keen on delaying the departures of his African players for as long as is permitted by their national associations.

Chukwueze’s teammate Ismael Bennacer is also in the same situation, with the club talking to the Algerian FA over delaying his arrival for the AFCON.

Both players are set to feature in Milan’s tricky Serie A clash against Sassuolo on December 30, after which their national associations will require their presence for pre-tournament camping.

However, the Italian side wants to keep them for one more game – a Coppa Italia last-16 fixture against Cagliari on January 2 – before releasing them.

This means Chukwueze and Bennacer are likely to report to the Nigeria and Algeria camp, respectively, the day after (January 3) to begin preparations for the AFCON in the Ivory Coast.

Nigeria, Algeria among AFCON favourites

Meanwhile, both Nigeria and Algeria are among the favourites for the upcoming tournament due to the array of stars at their disposal.

The Super Eagles have been drawn against hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in Group A, while Algeria are in Group D with Angola, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The AFCON is scheduled to take place from January 13 to February 11.

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.