Benik Afobe has pulled out of the DR Congo squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in order to concentrate on Bournemouth’s Premier League campaign.
Former England youth international Afobe elected to switch allegiances in March and was included in a preliminary 31-man squad for the tournament in Gabon.
However, the 23-year-old, who scored in Bournemouth’s 3-0 win at Swansea City on Saturday, has decided not to join up with the team.
“For the last couple of months I have been talking to my family and thinking about what is best for my development,” Afobe told the club’s official website.
“I have a lot of respect for everyone at DR Congo: the staff there, the players and fans. It’s a massive tournament for everyone, but thinking about my development and being at this stage in my career where I’m trying to establish myself in my first full Premier League season, I just want to keep improving.
“I have a great opportunity here now and I think by going away and missing six or seven weeks it could hamper my season personally and for the team.
“I spoke to the manager Florent Ibenge over the phone and that’s something I wanted to do myself to show respect. We spoke and he said that he understood.
“He said he was a player himself and that he understands the situation I am in, he hopes that I can keep improving and getting more minutes with Bournemouth.
“Everything’s been left in a good way and I’ll be watching every game the team play in the tournament and hoping to do as well as possible.”
Afobe is yet to make his debut for DR Congo after a paperwork mix-up in November thwarted his expected first appearance.
Bournemouth take on Afobe’s former club Arsenal in the Premier League on Tuesday.
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