Bassey, Onyeka Ruled Out Of Nigeria Vs Mali Clash, Finidi George Targets Second victory

Bassey, Onyeka Ruled Out Of Nigeria Vs Mali Clash, Finidi George Targets Second victory

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By Amaechi Agbo

Defender Calvin Bassey and midfielder, Frank Onyeka are both ruled out of Super Eagles and Mali friendly clash today in Morocco with injuries.

The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF confirmed that the two players who have been ever present in the team since their 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast will both not feature when Nigeria and Mali clash later tonight in Morocco’s city of Marrakech

Meanwhile coach of the side, Finidi George has reiterated his objective of securing a win in all two matches for which he has been selected to take interim charge of Nigeria in this international window, ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Les Aigles of Mali in Marrakech.

The two West African teams clash in a night game at the Grand Stade de Marrakech, where the three-time African champions put up a show to defeat arch-rivals Ghana 2-1 on Friday.

George must now do without defender Calvin Bassey and horsepower midfielder Frank Onyeka, who are injured and will not be part of Tuesday night’s ensemble against the 1972 AFCON runners-up.

Already, the Super Eagles have been highly-strung by the absence of key men like forwards Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface, and defenders William Ekong, Olaoluwa Aina and Zaidu Sanusi. Defenders Gabriel Osho and Tyronne Ebuehi, and forward Taiwo Awoniyi also had to pull out because of injuries.

Yet, the former Ajax Amsterdam and Real Betis winger is upbeat that those who dimmed the Black Stars will also fly above the other Eagles.

“We cannot at this time be dwelling on the injuries and absences that we have to cope with. Our intention has always been to win these two matches and then look forward to the World Cup qualifiers in June. We are determined to keep up the momentum and sustain the winning mentality derived from beating the Black Stars,” George said on Monday morning.

Incidentally, the last of Finidi George’s 62 caps for Nigeria came against the Eagles of Mali. ‘The Gazelle’ was involved when on 9th February, 2002 the Super Eagles pipped host nation Mali in the city of Mopti 1-0 to win the bronze medals of the 23rd Africa Cup of Nations.

Mali signalled their readiness for this encounter with a 2-0 spanking of Mauritania also in Morocco on Friday.

Absences and injuries, and George’s avowed intention not to overload players, could see goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo, defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Jamilu Collins, midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, and forwards Nathan Tella, Sadiq Umar and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru assume prominence in the encounter with the Les Aigles.

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