Former Wolves striker Benik Afobe has rejected the chance to play at the African Nations Cup so he can fight for his long-term future at Bournemouth.
The former Arsenal striker has withdrawn from the DR Congo squad in a bid to consolidate his position with the Cherries.
Afobe switched allegiance to the Central African country in March, but will now face a longer wait for his senior international debut.
Afobe claimed his second goal of the season as Bournemouth eased past Swansea 3-0 on New Year’s Eve, and he can now face old club Arsenal at Dean Court today.
“For the last couple of months I have been talking to my family and thinking about what is best for my development,” said Afobe. “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.”
Afobe joined Bournemouth from Wolves in a then club-record £10million deal for the Cherries in January 2016, hitting four goals in 15 Premier League appearances last term.
Afobe was unable to make his DR Congo debut in November after the Football Association sent his registration to the wrong country, neighbouring Congo.Subscribe to our Newsletter