Last week we covered reports from Ivory Coast that Wilfried Zaha had pulled out of the country’s international camp due to ‘personal reasons’.
Kamara Ibrahim, the national manager, relayed the news, and it was always likely to cause some irritation given the country were already without several key players due to injury.
Inevitably, some have suggested Zaha is simply avoiding national team duty, and there have even been claims he’s boycotting the Ivory Coast team, although the reasons the Crystal Palace star would take such a step haven’t been made clear.
Now the player’s camp have hit back. People close to the 26 year old have spoken to Abidjan Show and told them: “Wilfried is always motivated for his country. Only he could not play these two games because at the same time, he happened to have several urgent things to settle. He’s a boy who loves work and, contrary to what people say, he never boycotted anything.
“Even when one is an official or when one works privately (outside of football), it may happen that one asks permission from his superior to be absent to settle family issues or personal things. So, why when Wilfried excuses an absence, is it said that he boycotts the selection? Let people stop denigrating him because they do not know anything about him.”
That’s quite the hit-back, and critics of the Crystal Palace player clearly need to be careful with how far they go, given they don’t know the exact reasons behind his absence from the Ivory Coast squad.
There’s been suggestions in the country that Zaha didn’t make the choice to represent Ivory Coast with huge enthusiasm, something which has also been denied.