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Villa release duo, skipper supports move

Aston Villa 1 – 0 Norwich

Villa release duo, skipper supports move

ASTON VILLA captain, Tyrone Mings, has thrown his full weight behind the club’s decision to allow the Argentine duo of Emi Martinez and Emi Buendia to represent their country in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Buendia arrived from Norwich in June on a five-year contract for a club-record transfer fee that could rise to £38m.

The release of the duo follows Tottenham’s decision to also let two other Argentine players, Cristain Romero and Giovani Leo Celso, to team up with their teammates, for the qualifiers for a place in Qatar.

Argentina are part of the countries listed as red-list nations, according to the United Kingdom Covid-19 regulations.

This means travellers arriving in Britain from Argentina and large parts of South America will have to complete a 10-day hotel quarantine. The British government refused to grant special exemptions, to UK-based footballers travelling to countries which are part of the red-list zone, for the World Cup qualifiers.

And, given they will have to spend a minimum of 10 days in quarantine, on their return, the Premier League barred all players, registered under the league, from traveling to such countries.

This was after pressure was exerted by their member clubs, who were concerned many of their stars will be forced to miss some important matches, on their return from national duty. It meant a number of UK-based Zimbabwean players, notably Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, will miss the Warriors qualifiers against Bafana Bafana and Ethiopia.

All the three countries – Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ethiopia — are in the UK’s Covid-19 red zone.

But, the decision by Villa to release two of Nakamba’s teammates — Martinez and Buendia — for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia, shows inconsistency on the way the Premier League orders are being implemented.

Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia are all part of the red-list of nations.

Spurs also released their two Argentine stars for national duty.

“Perfectly reasonable compromise I think. I know how much it means to @emimartinezz1 (Martinez) and @EM10Buendia (Buendia) to represent their country… that’s not something that should be overlooked or ignored here,’’ Villa skipper Mings tweeted.

‘’Two fiercely proud internationals that we should also be proud of.’’

The club also confirmed Martínez and Buendía have flown home to play in the World Cup qualifiers. ‘’Aston Villa can confirm Emi Martínez and Emi Buendía have travelled to join up with the Argentina squad with the permission of the club in accordance with FIFA’s international match call-up rules,’’ Villa said.

‘’Both players have agreed to make themselves available for Argentina’s vital first two World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Brazil but will not take part in the third international match against Bolivia.

‘’These arrangements mean that Martínez and Buendía will only miss our Premier League match with Chelsea before being available for the visit of Everton to Villa Park on 18th September in order to comply with the UK’s Covid quarantine regulations.

“There are no easy solutions as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to adversely impact professional sport.

“After careful consideration we think this plan respects the long established call-up rules and balances the importance which top players place on representing their countries in important matches with the best interests of Aston Villa.

“We wish all of our players who are joining up with their national teams the best of luck in their upcoming matches.’’

The Argentine Football Association said the players will play all the three matches, and not two, as claimed in the Villa statement.

Villa didn’t mention why such a deal was not offered to Nakamba, for him to come and play for Zimbabwe, in the two matches against South Africa and Ethiopia.

Zambia’s star footballers, Patson Daka (Leicester City) and Enock Mwepu (Brighton & Hove Albion) arrived in Morocco yesterday, ahead of Chipolopolo’s match against Mauritania.

The duo, though, are unlikely to play in Zambia’s home match against Tunisia.

“It has been my dream to try to qualify to the World Cup and take Zambia to the World Cup,’’Mwepu told the Football Association of Zambia. “One thing I can plead is that if there is a way, we want to play back home against Tunisia, but because of the things that are going on around Covid-19 we are not allowed.

“We love playing at home, it can give us motivation playing at home.’’

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