Cisse out of Africa at last after Newcastle battle to get striker back

Papiss Cisse
Papiss Cisse
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NEWCASTLE United are furious at the Senegalese FA – after Papiss Cisse’s 11th-hour return to England.

Cisse and his Senegal team-mates were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations on Tuesday night.

But the striker’s return was delayed by an “unhelpful” Senegalese Football Federation, according to head coach John Carver.

And Cisse was only due to meet up with his club colleagues today ahead of tomorrow’s game against Hull City at the KC Stadium.

West Ham United are also unhappy at Cheikhou Kouyate’s belated return ahead of the club’s game against Liverpool at Anfield.

Newcastle and West Ham toyed with the idea of sharing the cost of a private jet to get Cisse and Kouyate back, but, in the end, the pair boarded scheduled flights.

Carver hopes nine-goal Cisse will be ready to have some involvement against Hull.

“We’re trying to get him back,” said Carver. “Senegal’s FA haven’t been too helpful, and we’re not happy about that.

“Southampton, West Ham and Stoke are also trying to get their players back. Hopefully, he’ll be available for the weekend.

“We’ve been trying to get in touch with him and it hasn’t been easy, but I have spoken to his agent, and I have left a message with Papiss.

“Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) has spoken to the Senegalese FA, and they have not been very helpful.”

Asked if he would be back in time to play a part at Hull, Carver added: “Hopefully, he’ll be back for Friday, meet us in the hotel Friday night and be involved Saturday.

“He hasn’t had a great deal of football when he’s been over.”

Cisse – who only made one substitute appearance at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea – is Newcastle’s leading scorer.

The 29-year-old made his comeback from long-term injury off the bench against Hull at St James’s Park in September – and scored two goals to claim a point for United.

“He’s hugely important,” said Carver. “We were 2-0 down against Hull earlier in the season, and he came on and got two goals.

“He’s our top goalscorer, and the only way you are going to win football matches is by having your top goalscorer around.

“I think he’s fit. He came on (against Algeria on Tuesday night), I didn’t really watch it, but Stoney (first-team coach Steve Stone) watched a bit of it, and said he was there in the right areas to get a goal.”

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also told of his frustration. Asked about the problems his club had faced, Allardyce said: “I think the usual – the lack of organisation, of booking people’s flights to come back.

“We’ve had to take responsibility and get it sorted out.”

Southampton and Stoke City also had concerns about getting Sadio Mane and Mame Biram Diouf respectively back in time for their games.

Meanwhile, ex-United striker Shola Ameobi has linked up with former manager Alan Pardew again at Crystal Palace.

The 33-year-old has signed a contract at Selhurst Park until the end of the season.

Ameobi had been without a club since cutting short his spell in Turkey with Gaziantep.

He could come up against Newcastle on February 11, when Carver’s side visit Selhurst Park.

Ameobi said: “I had a couple of other clubs interested, but I think my relationship with Alan and how much I enjoyed working with him was one of the big factor in my decision.”