Days after missing out on Emmanuel Dennis and Victor Osimhen, Nigeria will miss the services of another one, Odion Ighalo after his club activated his contract clause which prevents him from participating in this year’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
According to The Niche.com, Saudi Arabian club, Al-Shabab refused to sanction his participation at the tournament, thereby implying the 32-year-old striker will miss out on the African soccer fiesta in Cameroon.
A clause in the contract he signed with the Saudi Arabian club, which indicated that he no longer plays for Nigeria was invoked by the club to prevent him from participating in the tournament.
NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire confirmed the development.
“Al Shabab has confirmed that they won’t be releasing Ighalo for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
“However, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) will not go to that level of reporting Ighalo’s club to FIFA because you won’t be helping the player.
“This was the same player that was invited for the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Liberia in Morocco, and he was released,” he said.
Odion Ighalo was recalled to the Super Eagles by the former gaffer, Genort Rohr in November after retiring from international duties for over two years.
In a related development, Fatih Karagumruk of Turkey winger and Captain of the Super Eagles, Ahmed Musa, has left the training camp ahead of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations due to bereavement.
The 28-year-old striker missed the team’s last training session on Wednesday, after losing a family member.
Musa was permitted to travel and be with his family members following the loss. He is, however, expected to join up with the rest of the squad in Cameroon ahead of Nigeria’s first game against Egypt on January 11.
Nigeria Squad for AFCON 2021
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy);g Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Olisa Ndah ( Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain), Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany, Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England).
AFCON 2021 Groups:
Group A: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros, Gabon
Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-BissauGroup E: Algeria, Sierra-Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire
Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia Morocco