On Friday, November 17th, the Super Eagles are travelling to South Africa for an AFCON 2019 qualifying encounter with the Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg. The Eagles are sitting at the top of the Group E table with South Africa second. Nigerian team needs a single point from the last two qualifiers to make sure they qualify for next years African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Since Gernot Rohr, the Nigerian head coach, names his 23-man squad for the qualifier and the friendly against Uganda a few days later, there have been some issues with injuries. The number one goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, was injured while playing for Elche a few weeks back and is unlikely to be ready for the match against South Africa. Theophilus Afelokhai, from Enyimba, was called up to be the third goalkeeper while Daniel Akpeyi will probably be at goal for the qualifier.
Only a few days ago, news came in the Eagles star striker Odion Ighalo has injured his hamstring and will be out of contention for 4-5 weeks. Since Ighalo has scored four goals for Nigeria in the last two games, this could pose a problem. Henry Onyekuru was on standby and he will probably be called up to the camp on Monday in place of the injured Ighalo.
Samuel Kalu, one of Rohr’s attackers, has missed his last game for Bordeaux in Ligue 1 due to illness, but he has since recovered and resumed training. This is good news for the coach, as he has handpicked Kalu to replace Victor Moses, who has earlier in the year suddenly retired from international football.
Another player who was injured and was doubtful to make the AFCON qualifier was Jamilu Collins, the left back. But, during last week he has returned to his training regime and was in the starting eleven for SC Paderborn 07 on Friday in an exciting match against Holstein Kiel which finished 4:4. Collins played the full 90 minutes so he will be ready for the roll call in Asaba on Monday.
Shehu Abdullahi is still recovering from the injury he received in the second of the two back to back qualifiers against Libya and won’t be playing in the next two matches for Nigeria.
The rest of the squad is healthy and will be travelling to the campground in Asaba as soon as they are finished with their club duties this weekend. More information on player’s fitness will be available after their first couple of training sessions at the start of the following week.