Eight Super Eagles players plying their trade in the United Kingdom will leave the national team camp immediately after the FIFA World Cup clash with Liberia on Friday according to the coach, Gernot Rohr.
The three-time African champions have eight UK-based players – six in the Premier League and two from Scotland – in the latest squad.
“Eight of our players will depart immediately to the United Kingdom after our game on Friday. The players are returning because of the UK rules on the African players going to play in some countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rohr said in a press conference.
The players are Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); William Troost-Ekong (Watford, England); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland) and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland).
It will be recalled that the United Kingdom rules designed to limit the spread of coronavirus mean that countries on the British “red list” – including several African nations – are unable to call on players based in the Premier League for international matches.
The escalating row over quarantine restrictions and the lack of exemptions for players returning from red‑zone countries led to African football’s governing body CAF to ask the UK government to exempt African international footballers and allow them to travel to World Cup qualifiers.
The situation initially led Rohr to name an expanded 30-man squad for the qualifiers, to cover for players who may not be allowed to leave England.
Nigeria will host Liberia in their Group C opener tomorrow at the Teslim Balogun Stadium before flying out to Cape Verde