Guinean coach Didier Six has revealed details of his negotiations with Liverpool after the Premier League club agreed to release Naby Keita for one of the next two African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Guinean captain Keita was cleared to face Group A leader Mali in Conakry on March 24, with Guinea currently two points behind that of Mohamed Magassouba in second.
However, under the terms of the Liverpool deal, the 26-year-old will then return to Merseyside and miss the trip to Namibia the following weekend, ensuring he won’t miss a game for the Reds due to restrictions on coronavirus quarantine.
What did Six say?
“We negotiated with Liverpool, which are one of the biggest clubs in the world, to have Naby Keita for the first game,” Six said. AFP.
“After that, we immediately put him on the plane and he will be available for the [Premier League] restart after seven days of isolation, during which he can train.
“I made a proposal to the clubs so that we can be as strong as possible for the first game.
“You need diplomacy, there’s no point shouting.”
The big picture
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the resulting quarantine rules have caused chaos for international managers as they attempt to bring their teams from around the world together.
FIFA’s governing body has said clubs are under no obligation to release players for international duties if they then find themselves without them due to coronavirus protocols.
Two South American qualifying rounds have been postponed for this reason, with countries like Argentina and Brazil on the UK’s restricted travel list, which states that travelers from these countries must spend an extended period. isolation before being allowed to travel.
Namibia is also on the restricted travel list which means Keita should have been quarantined for 10 days upon his return to the UK had he played in that game.
That would have ruled him out for the Premier League trip to Arsenal on April 4 and the Champions League quarter-final first leg three days later. However, the deal with Guinea means the midfielder will return home and be available for the Reds’ return.