Super Eagles midfielder Kelechi Nwakali has accused Spanish side Huesca of intimidation, claiming the club terminated his contract for representing Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The player made the comment in a post on his Instagram handle, hours after the La Liga side confirmed that his contract has been terminated even before it was due to expire in June.
Nwakali, who lamented the ill-treatment from the club, accused them of withholding his wages.
“It comes with huge regret that I am writing this message after SD Huesca announced the termination of my contract,” the former youth international began in the lengthy post.
“I have kept silent out of respect for the Huesca fans and my teammates, but I will no longer suffer in silence. The time has come for people to know the truth and why these past few months have been awful for me and my family.
“In December 2021, I experienced the biggest honour of my life after I received a full international call up for my beloved Nigeria.
“But the joy of this moment quickly came crashing down when the club’s sporting director, Ruben Garcia, put extreme pressure on me not to go to AFCON due to it ‘not being an important tournament’. He told me that if I go to AFCON I will not play for Huesca again. This behaviour and the lack of respect shown to my country Nigeria was truly heart-breaking and it was just the latest example of the club attempting to bully me into getting their own way.
“For months the club has been abusing its power to bully me into signing a new contract. These tactics have included paying me late on numerous contracts.
“The breakdown in negotiations came when my mother fell ill and I asked Ruben for the wages the club already owed me in order to pay for my mother’s hospital bill and treatment. Ruben Garcia responded to my request by saying: ‘Sign this new contract and we will pay you what’s owed tonight’.
“But despite these actions, I was not going to allow the club to stop me from representing my country at one of the biggest international tournaments in the world and I was honoured to join my teammates in Cameroon.
“Before Nigeria’s last 16 game against Tunisia on 23rd January 2022, I began to feel unwell and was diagnosed with a respiratory tract infection. As a result, I was not fit enough to play in the game against Tunisia. After we were eliminated from the tournament I was unable to return to the club immediately as planned because of my illness following advice from the doctor.
“Throughout this time, Huesca have not paid my wages, yet I have remained silent hoping that a reasonable resolution could be found. But yesterday when I turned up at the training ground, a member of the club tried to force me to sign mutual termination papers which I refused to do. I have a family that depends on me, and no player should have to go through this inhumane treatment.”
Despite the treatment, he maintained that he does not regret playing for Nigeria at the competition.
“I will never regret my decision to represent Nigeria and all I want to do is get back to playing the sport I love,” he wrote.
“Lastly, I want to thank the fans and my teammates of Huesca who have been amazing during my time here. I have always given 100% for the club, despite my treatment over the past three years.”
Meanwhile, the Spanish Players’ Association (AFE) has pledged to wade into the matter and challenge the decision in court.
“In the face of the numerous information that is appearing, some erroneous, AFE wants to clarify that the dismissal will be challenged – as it cannot be otherwise – before the courts of the city of Huesca with the aim of continuing to safeguard the labor rights of the footballer,” the association said in a statement.
“AFE understands that, with this unilateral resolution adopted by the club, the labor rights of Kelechi Nwakali have clearly been violated.”