Fulham manager Chris Coleman has lost his battle to delay Papa Bouba Diop’s departure for the African Nations Cup.
Coleman hoped to keep Diop for Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Leyton Orient and next Saturday’s Barclays Premiership clash with Newcastle.
But football authorities in Senegal have refused his request and Diop, who has been sidelined for the last month with an ankle injury, has already left for the tournament in Egypt.
“We were hoping to hang on to Bouba but we’ve talked to the Senegalese FA and there was nothing happening there, so unfortunately he’s gone away,” said Coleman.
“Now we have to make sure that he’s fit when he comes back and is ready to start for us. It’s a big loss to us.”