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Portsmouth boss Redknapp ready for Nigeria battle over stars

Portsmouth are ready to battle Nigeria over their Super Eagles stars.

Berti Vogts has demanded his squad attend a compulsory 14-day training camp ahead of January's African Cup of Nations.

Harry Redknapp's African quartet of Sulley Muntari, John Utaka, Kanu and Papa Bouba Diop were already expected to miss five matches over the tournament's January 20 to February 10 duration.

Now, Nigerian duo Utaka and Kanu are set to be unavailable for an additional two games.

But Pompey boss Harry Redknapp rapped: "We will do anything we can to stop him. We will fight this, no doubt about that. It's a ridiculous time for a competition anyway at a ridiculous time of year. It's absolutely unbelievable.

"Why can't they play it in the summer like the World Cup or the European Championship. It makes no sense to me at all. It's a big problem for us, but Arsenal have a few as well as Chelsea and over the next few years I can see more and more African players coming to the Premier League.

"I have said for the last two years it's only a matter of time before one of the African nations wins the World Cup. It will happen, for sure.

"They are getting stronger and stronger and the players are getting better and better. There are some fantastic ones out there.

"People say we shouldn't sign them because of the African Nations but why not? These are quality footballers - you can't be put off by them being away for a month every couple of years.

"At the moment, though, it is a real problem for us and now Nigeria are trying to take them away for another few weeks.

"It's a crazy situation and we'll be fighting this."

About the author

Tribal Football Staff

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