3.5 C
New York
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Trouble looms for Eguavoen as NFF confirms Ighalo’s absence

The chances of Super Eagles making a huge statement at the Africa Cup of Nations took a major hit when the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) confirmed the that striker Odion Ighalo will not be available for the Africa’s flagship football competition.

The unavailability of Ighalo has put interim coach, Augustine Eguavoen in a dilemma as he has his preferred strikers have been ruled out of the tournament.

Ighalo who was recalled from international retirement in November by former coach Gernot Rohr was stopped from joining his team mates in Cameroon by his Saudi Arabia club, Al Shabab.

In a statement on Thursday, the federation hinted that Ighalo was not released by his club in Saudi Arabia club, Al- Shabab.

“Forward Odion Ighalo is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” NFF said in a statement by its spokesperson, Ademola Olajire. The football federation has yet to name a replacement for the striker.

Article 72.2 of the Confederation of African Football’s tournament regulations state: “A player on the final list cannot be replaced unless seriously injured at the latest 24 hours at least before the beginning of the first match of his team.”

His unavailability compounded an attacking issue after Victor Osimhen was ruled out following a positive Covid-19 test and is still recovering from facial fractures while Genk’s Paul Onuachu, who has netted 12 league goals this season, will also miss the tournament through injury.

Angola can't intimidate us - Special Eagles captain

Few days later, Premier League club Watford prevented their top scorer Emmanuel Dennis from playing in Cameroon, claiming the NFF missed the deadline to request his release. Nigeria suggested Watford were “baring fangs” over the issues and the player has since been replaced.

Nigeria’s harvest of 15 podium appearances in 18 participations in the Africa Cup of Nations is the highest tally in Africa’s flagship football championship.

The only times they ended without any form of medal were in their debut in 1963, in Libya 40 years ago and in Ghana 14 years ago. They have won the trophy three times (1980, 1994, and 2013), finished as runners-up four times (1984, 1988, 1990, and 2000), and picked up the bronze medals eight times (1976, 1978, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2019).

Meanwhile, Europe-based Jamilu Collins and Tyronne Ebuehi, who did not travel from Abuja to Garoua, are expected to link up with the rest of the squad in Cameroon ahead of the opening game against Egypt on Tuesday, 11 January.

I'm an avid and seasoned sports/ multimedia journalist. I have a biased love for Real Madrid and passionate advocate for the overall growth of the Nigeria Sports Project. I can be reached on 09077894123 or/and '[email protected]'

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles

Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/thesport/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5107