The Super Eagles of Nigeria have received a major squad boost ahead of their World Cup qualifiers this month.
England-based trio Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi are the latest stars to touch down at the Eko hotel to join the team as they prepare for the two crucial games against Togo and Cape Verde Islands.
Nigeria will host Togo at the Teslim Balogun Stadoum on Friday before traveling to face Cape Verde four days later.
According to a statement released by the Nigeria Football Federation(NFF), the players who are based in the United Kingdom may not travel for the second match as Cape Verde are amongst the countries who are in Britain’s red list travel ban category.
This dilemma has resulted in coach Gernot Rohr naming a 30-man squad for the two games in order to be ready for all possibilities.
Brentford anchor Frank Onyeka has been ruled out after testing positive for Covid-19 while Simy Nwankwo missed out due to lack of game time at his new club Salernitana.
Rohr has also expressed his frustration with the situation of the UK-based stars saying it limits their chances of getting maximum results.
“It is difficult to understand why England is giving exception to the Euro, but not for the other World Cup games,” he explained.
“They could do everything for the Euro where England participated, but nothing for the World Cup players. It is very important for each country who has ambitions to qualify and this kind of decision will tarnish the competition.”
For the Super Eagles, this means William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Frank Onyeka, Joe Aribo, and Oghenekaro Etebo will all not be available for the away game.
“We are preparing the team as best as possible, but we will not have these players who are some of our best players,” he added.
“All our midfielders will not be there. Our central defence also will not be there and our good striker Kelechi will also not be there. So it will not be easy against a very difficult team like Cape Verde.”
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By Prince Sobayeni