atford’s Emmanuel Dennis and fellow striker Victor Osimhen of Napoli have both dropped out of Nigeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Hornets have reportedly refused to release Dennis, who has scored eight Premier League goals this season.
A Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) statement said Dennis had been excused because Watford were “baring fangs”.
Osimhen has been ruled out following a positive Covid-19 test and is still recovering from facial fractures.
The injury in November was expected to rule the Napoli frontman, 23, out of the tournament, which starts on 9 January in Cameroon.
Dennis, 24, will now be available for Watford’s league games against fellow strugglers Newcastle and Norwich, as well as their FA Cup third round tie at Leicester City on 8 January.
He and Osimhen have been replaced by Sparta Prague striker Peter Olayinka and Olympiakos forward Henry Onyekuru, while the Super Eagles have also been forced to make two changes in defence.
Rangers defender Leon Balogun and Cyprus-based Abdullahi Shehu have both been replaced by West Brom’s Semi Ajayi and Tyronne Ebuehi of Italian Serie A side Venezia.
“In-form rapid raider Emmanuel Dennis, whose English Premiership club is baring fangs, has been excused to provide room for Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka,” Nigeria’s official account said on Instagram.