The enthusiasm in the Super Eagles camp was yesterday dampened by news that two of the players Coach Gernot Rohr banked on for success in Nigeria’s second match in the Cameroon 2019 qualifying series may not be fit for the game.
The players, Ola Aina of Torino and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi are said to be ill and may have been knocked out of the game.
Ola Aina, who is one of the few full backs in the team, pulled out of Torino’s match with SPAL on Sunday night due to a muscular injury, while Iwobi was not dressed for Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat of Cardiff also at the weekend.
A statement by Torino last night said Aina has pulled out of Saturday’s qualifier due to the injury, but there was no immediate reaction to the story from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
According to Torino, Aina, who is on loan from Chelsea, will undergo more tests to ascertain the extent of the damage to his left femoral bicep.
Reports from Arsenal say Alex Iwobi is down with influenza, which could knock him out of the qualifier against Seychelles.
Meanwhile, African football ruling body, CAF has named Kenyan referee, David Omweno as the centre referee for Saturday’s clash at the Stade Linte on Saturday in Victoria.
The 34-year-old Kenyan, Omweno will have as his first Assistant Referee, his compatriot Gilbert Cheruiyot, while Uganda’s Mark Ssonko will act as Assistant Referee.
Omweno was one of the two referees suspended by CAF for three months in 2016 for poor performance.
The Kenyan referee was accused of ruling out a legitimate goal scored by Libya in their 1-0 loss to Tunisia in November 2016.
Nigeria is third in Group E with no point after losing 2-0 to South Africa in their opening game 14 months ago, while Libya and South Africa are joint leaders in the group with three points.
The Super Eagles, therefore, must beat Seychelles away from home to rekindle hope of qualifying from Group E for Cameroun 2019.
The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations is scheduled to hold from January 12 to February 3 in Cameroun.