The manager of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Gernot Rohr, has declared that any player who has slight injury won’t be risked to feature in any of the matches.
Rohr said that to clarify why he omitted Trabzonspor midfielder, Eddy Onazi, from Nigeria’s squad for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa due to concerns over his fitness.
On Tuesday, Rohr named a 23-man squad for the match against Bafana Bafana and a friendly with Uganda this month.
Onazi withdrew from Nigeria’s squad for their back-to-back qualifiers against Libya in early to mid-October, only to be given a clean bill of health when he returned to his Turkish Super Lig.
He has since featured in two matches for Trabzonspor, playing 45 minutes of their goalless draw with Erzurum on October 22 and the full 90 of their 1-1 draw with Antalyaspor this past weekend.
The 25-year-old defensive midfielder was excellent in the latter match, leading to serious questions by Nigeria fans as to why he has been left off Rohr’s list.
And the German had the following to say in response: ”Onazi had a problem with injury. He left Uyo before the match against Libya [earlier this month].
“I have to be aware of the health of our players. We didn’t want to do injections on Achilles tendons before the games.”
Onazi’s absence leaves Nigeria with just three central midfielders for their upcoming matches: Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu and Mikel Agu. Wilfred Ndidi is absent as he is suspended for the AFCON match after picking up a second yellow card of the group stage in the 3-2 win over Libya in Sfax.
The Super Eagles head into the clash atop of Group E after four rounds of fixtures, having claimed back-to-back wins over Libya earlier this month.
Victory for Nigeria will book their place at next year’s showpiece in Cameroon ahead of their final group game at home to Seychelles in the new year.
Rohr will be without Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi for the clash. He will miss the trip to South Africa through suspension while John Mikel Obi has asked to be excused due to personal reasons.
“We give opportunities to our young players like [Victor] Osimhen and [Samuel] Chukwueze, and also hoping to have our captain Mikel Obi back whenever he is ready to come,” Rohr was quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
Nigeria will be aiming to exact revenge on their hosts following a 2-0 defeat to Bafana Bafana in the reverse fixture, in Uyo last year