World Cup Qualifiers: Rohr Under Pressure As Ndidi, Iheanacho, Iwobi Others Set To Miss Liberia, Cape Verde Matches
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By Amaechi Agbo
Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr is under immense pressure as several of his key players in the English Premiership League are set to miss the opening phase of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month, www.bestchoicesports.com.ng can report
The German coach is sweating to find a rhythm as Leicester City’s duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheancho; Watford’s trio of Peter Etebo, William Troost-Ekong and Emmanuel Dennis as well as Alex Iwobi of Everton and Frank Onyeka of Brentford are all expected to miss the first two qualifiers in September.
Nigeria is billed to play the Lone Star of Liberia on Friday next week and face the Blue Shacks of Cape Verde on the following Tuesday.
However, following the Premier League announcement Tuesday that international players due to play in Covid-19 red-list countries will not be released from their clubs in the upcoming FIFA windows, Rohr is racing against time on how to riggule out of the quagmire.
The top-flight wrote that the decision follows FIFA’s reluctance to extend its ‘temporary release exception for players required to quarantine’ upon their return from international duty.
“There are currently 60 countries and territories on the red list, with the Premier League noting that almost 60 of its players were due to travel to 26 of these during the international break.
Uruguay and Egypt are amongst the countries on the red list right now, so the likes of Mohamed Salah and Edinson Cavani will not be released by Liverpool and Man United respectively,” the release said Tuesday.
Brazil are also on the red list and their national team will be hit extremely hard with Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino of Liverpool were called up, as well as Chelsea defender Thiago Silva, Manchester United midfielder Fred, Man City duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Everton forward Richarlison and Leeds attacker Raphinha.
Brazil are facing off against Argentina in the September break – who will miss Emiliano Martinez now, and will have to do without eight Premier League as they look to bounce back from their Copa America final defeat to La Albiceleste.
The Premier League add that if players were released to these areas deemed concerning in regards to Covid-19 by the UK government, the 10 days of quarantine would leave them unable to play and prepare for two top-flight matchdays, a European round and the third stage of the League Cup.
“The Premier League and its member clubs are clearly unwilling to risk the release of their players to areas of concern, which would leave them without some of their biggest stars for a couple of fixtures,” the statement concluded.