The West Ham striker Diafra Sakho has spoken of his “sadness and anger” at criticism directed towards him for not representing Senegal at the African Cup of Nations.
Sakho was ruled out of the tournament with a back injury, but came off the bench to score the winner on Sunday as the Hammers beat Bristol City 1-0 in the FA Cup fourth round.
A number of Senegal fans vented their frustration on Sakho’s official Facebook page by posting comments underneath a picture of him celebrating the goal at Ashton Gate.
Sakho responded: “Very quickly my joy from scoring and rescuing my club has turned into sadness and anger.
“Sadness because some of your words touched me deep in my person and my heart, and this without you knowing what has really happened.
“And great anger, because after all my struggles day after day, season after season to finally wear the jersey of my homeland, and my family, the only nation that matters to me – you doubt my love and my patriotism.
“My absence at CAN 2015 [the African Cup of Nations], my first CAN, was not painless. The dream of contributing to the victory of my country got away from me this year, but it is not dead!”
In yesterday’s games, Zambia, the winners in 2012, were knocked out after they could only draw 0-0 with Cape Verde during a heavy rain storm in Ebebiyin.
Tunisia went through as group winners after a 1-1 draw with DR Congo, who clinched second place thanks to substitute Loteteka Bokila’s 66th-minute equaliser
Top-ranked team Algeria and four-time champions Ghana play their final group games today and still have work to do to make the quarter-finals. Algeria meet surprise group leaders Senegal in Malabo and Ghana play South Africa in Mongomo.
Algeria, pre-tournament favourites, have found the going tougher than expected. The North Africans took time to get going against South Africa, then conceded a stoppage-time goal to lose to Ghana. They are also missing striker Islam Slimani through injury against Senegal.
Ghana will be hoping to build on their victory over Algeria in their last game, when captain Asamoah Gyan returned after a mild bout of malaria to score their late winner. “He’s a great player, a fantastic player, great attitude,” Ghana’s coach, Avram Grant, said of Gyan. “He’s fantastic in important games.”Reuse content