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LONDON (Reuters) - Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe will not be stopped from playing for his club during the African Nations Cup finals after electing to miss the tournament in Gabon.
His club said on Tuesday they had received clearance from the Democratic Republic of Congo to use Afobe, who pulled out of selection for the tournament in order to cement his place with Bournemouth.
“AFC Bournemouth have received clearance from DR Congo, which will enable Benik Afobe to resume playing for the club with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement on their website (www.afcb.co.uk).
Afobe, who switched international allegiance after winning under-21 caps for England, had been expected to make his debut for the Congolese next week and his withdrawal was a huge setback for the team.
They would have been entitled to ask FIFA to make the 23-year-old Afobe sit on the sidelines until their Nations Cup campaign was over but have chosen not to.
Afobe's decision again highlighted the contentious club versus country dilemma many players have faced with the Nations Cup taking place in the middle of the European club season.
Afobe has started just three league games this season, making another 12 appearances as a substitute but scored in his last game against Swansea on New Year's Eve.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar