Squad updates ahead of the South Africa qualifier

2019 Africa Cup of Nations

After last Monday, when Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr named his players for upcoming South Africa and Uganda games, there have been a few developments, some positive, some not so much.

Oghenekaro Etebo, the Stoke City player, has been named to the Nigerian squad for the upcoming games, even though he was carrying an injury. But, there’s been good news for the Coach. After he was pronounced fit to play by the Stoke medical team on Friday, the Super Eagles midfielder was in the starting eleven for the game against Middlesbrough on Saturday evening. The game finished a goalless draw. Etebo was one of Stoke’s best players in the game before he was substituted by Bojan in the 81st minute. Coach Rohr has been following his fitness but this game has shown that the midfielder will probably be ready for the AFCON 2019 qualifier.

The SC Paderborn 07 player, Jamilu Collins, who has recently been playing in the left back position for the Eagles, had to be taken out of the game on Saturday afternoon in the 79th minute, after he couldn’t recover from a bad tackle a few minutes earlier. His team lost the match 2:0 in the end. The extent of his injury is unclear but it might create a problem for Nigeria as he is the single left-footed player in the team who will probably be replaced as left back by either Ola Aina or Brian Idowu, if he is not ready for November 17th.

Oghenekaro Etebo (www.thenff.com)

Oghenekaro Etebo (www.thenff.com)

The Nigerian youngster and first choice goalkeeper for the Super Eagles, Francis Uzoho has had a tough time of it in the past couple of weeks. First, he was criticized for his performance in the 2nd Libya match where he made a few bad decisions. This weekend he had trouble playing for his team, Elche. They travelled to Cadiz for this Segunda Division match. Elche began well by scoring first but then conceded five goals in the second half to make the final score 5:1. Last year, Uzoho was the youngest ever foreign keeper to play in La Liga. However, with these five goals conceded in a single game, for the first time in his club or international career, he has also become the first Nigerian goalkeeper to allow five goals in one game in the Segunda Division.

To make matters worse, Uzoho was fouled hard in the second half and had to be taken out of the game with a medical stretcher. The level of his injury is unknown, but a concussion has been mentioned. He won’t be ready to play for Elche the following weekend and he probably won’t be able to join the Super Eagles for the trip to South Africa. Coach Rohr will have to look at what his options are at the goalkeeper position. He will hope that this will be all the bad news he will get before the team meet up for training.

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