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Saturday, 19 June 2021

Guinea persuade Liverpool to release Keita for one international

With two rounds left in the qualifying pools, Guinea are second in Group A, two points behind Mali.

AFP , Thursday 18 Mar 2021
Naby Keita
Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita (R) vies with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Spanish midfielder Adama Traore during the match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on March 15, 2021. AFP
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Guinea coach Didier Six said he has "negotiated with Liverpool" and secured the release of Naby Keita for one of two upcoming African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

With two rounds left in the qualifying pools, Guinea are second in Group A, two points behind Mali. They host the leaders in Mali in Conakry on March 24 and then go to Namibia, who have won one game, on March 28.

Six, a former France international, told AFP on Wednesday that Liverpool had agreed to let Keita play in the first of those games.

"We negotiated with Liverpool, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world, to have Naby Keita for the first game," Six said.

"After that we put him on the plane immediately and he will be available for the (Premier League) restart after seven days in isolation, during which time he can train.

"I made a proposal to the clubs so that we could be as strong as possible for the first match," Six said. "It takes diplomacy, there's no point in yelling."

Six said that FIFA's decision to loosen the rule that requires clubs to release players for internationals was sensible but added that he would have liked FIFA to tell clubs "to decide within 24-48 hours of the call-up."

"We have sent a call-up to the players, and their plane tickets, and the clubs can refuse on the last day."

Six said that he had been turned down by Ligue 2 French club Clermont who would not release Mohamed Bayo and Lens, who are second in Ligue 1, blocked Issiaga Sylla.

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