MATCHS DU JOUR 27
Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed striker Odion Ighalo will miss out of the country's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Cameroon.
The former Manchester United striker starred at the 2019 edition of the competition, scoring five goals to emerge topscorer of the 24-national tournament held in Egypt, where the Super Eagles finished third.
As it stands, the Al-Shabab striker will not feature for Augustine Eguavoen's side at the 33rd edition of the continent's flagship championship.
“Forward Odion Ighalo is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” part of the statement read.
Following the omission of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Genk’s Paul Onuachu due to injury, the burden of leading the team but they will be one-player short as there will be no replacement.
Sources claimed that the striker's request to represent the West African nation by his Saudi Arabia club owing to contractual reasons. The Lagos-born star had joined the White Lion from Shanghai Shenhua in 2021, signing a pact to forgo the opportunities to be involved in international duties for the Super Eagles.
In build up to that switch, he had announced his retirement from the senior national team, althrough, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr as the German moved to solve the Super Eagles’ worrisome attacking line.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Super Eagles landed in Garoua with 25 players - without Ighalo, Tyronne Ebuehi and Germany based Jamilu Collins, who are still expected to join the team, except the former due to latest development.
Since arriving the North Region city, the Super Eagles are lodged inside Hotel Ribadou and continued their final preparations for the tournament, with the first training session on Thursday evening.
Eguavoen's side are pitted in Group D alongside seven-time winners Egypt, one-time champions Sudan and debutants Guinea Bissau and will start their outing on January 11 against the Pharaohs at the Roumde Adjia Stadium.
Four days later, they will take on the Falcons of Jediane before squaring up against the Djurtus on January 19.