Ndidi, Balogun, Troost-Ekong, Iheancho, 3 Others Out Of Cape Verde Match
By Amaechi Agbo
Nigeria’s Matchday 2 of the second round of 2022 Qatar World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde on Tuesday will not see Gernot Rohr parade his key players as all seven players plying their trades in the English Premiership League as well as the Scottish League will not make the trip, www.bestchoicesports.com.ng can report.
Super Eagles handler, Gernot Rohr confirmed over the wrrk that the seven United Kingdom-based players currently in the camp in Lagos will not be available for selection against Cape Verde.
This, it was gathered, was as result of Covid-19 protocols and restrictions by the UK Government.
The Nigeria Football Federation president, Amaju Pinnick had pleaded with the English Football Association and Scottish Football Association to reverse their decision preventing the British-based Super Eagles players traveling to Cape Verde but those talks were not fruitful.
It means Glasgow Rangers duo Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun, Leicester City pair Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi, Everton winger Alex Iwobi, Watford duo William Troost-Ekong and Oghenekaro Etebo will head back to the United Kingdom as from Saturday, after the match with Liberia today
An eighth player in Brentford’s Frank Onyeka withdrew from the roster after testing positive for coronavirus.
Rohr has stressed that he’s fully focused on the match against the Lone Stars and wants to take it one game at a time.
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s workout at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Rohr said : “The first game here is Liberia, we will have 29 players and we will only focus on this game.
“Of course in our heart that’s why we have 29 players to replace the eight United Kingdom-based players who have to leave us but for the moment we concentrate on the first game.
“And then we will have around 20 or 21 players for the second game, it will be another step.
“At first let us focus on this wonderful match against Liberia. I know that some supporters can come, unfortunately not everybody, only 5,000 but we want to give them joy and we know that all Nigerians are behind the team”.
Rohr had full complement of players to work with in the Super Eagles training session on Thursday following the arrival of Porto left-back Zaidu Sanusi.
Cape Verde is among the over 60 countries the UK Government designated as “red alert” nations with high rate of the emerging new Covid-19 variant.
It remains to be seeing how Gernot Rohr would be able to navigate the match at the Stadium Aderito Sena on Tuesday with most of his players set to miss out.