‘Without Africans, Napoli will be less brilliant’ – Former Italy international Bagni

Former Italy international Salvatore Bagni believes Napoli will not be nearly as good a side without their African players in the squad.

The Naples charges have Nigeria striker Victor Osimhen, Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly and Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa as regulars in the ongoing campaign. 

While Osimhen is set to miss the Europa League match against Legia Warsaw on Thursday due to an injury, Koulibaly and Zambo Anguissa are set to feature.

But the defender will miss the Serie A match against Verona after being sent off in the last league match away to Salernitana where they won 1-0. The Super Eagles striker is also a doubt.

“Koulibaly out of the next match?” Bagni started with the Sunday game and what led to the Teranga Lion’s dismissal as quoted by AreaNapoli.

“Too bad, for a wrong pass and [Simy Nwankwo’s] skill on the line. Salernitana waited, then put [Milan] Djuric in to take advantage of his physicality, he couldn’t play a different match.

“Anguissa? I too was cautioned many times, he knows how to manage. He knows when to enter, when to pass, when to intervene.

“He is a very important player and intelligent, there is total confidence in him. He has constant growth in the game and gives security to the team.

“When we miss the Africans [on the pitch], I hope not, but we will see another Naples, less brilliant.”

The 65-year-old further stated why he was impressed with the way Napoli played in the Campano Derby and managed to get the bragging rights over the relegation-threatened rivals.

“Against Salernitana when [Andrea] Petagna came in, something moved,” Bagni continued. 

“[Dries] Mertens played a normal game but was little in attacking actions. I also say that the management of the match was also great for Napoli…

“Salernitana played a waiting game and then realized that they could get something more. [But for Napoli] to bring home such a victory in such an environment, even with a relatively below-par performance is positive.”

Napoli have enjoyed a good start to the Serie A season and are on top of the table with 31 points, the same as second-placed AC Milan who have an inferior goal difference.

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