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Iheanacho risks AFCON 2019 exclusion

By John Egbokhan

It’s been a season to forget for Leicester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, whose stock continues to drop following his exclusion from the Super Eagles squad for this month’s AFCON qualifier against Seychelles  and a high profile international friendly with Egypt at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State.

Iheanacho

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The out of form Foxes forward is a regular for the Eagles, since bursting onto the limelight after his exploits with the Golden Eaglets at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2013, going up pocket 23 caps for the three-time African champions,  despite  being just 22 years of age.

But failure to find the back of the net for Nigeria and Leicester City since September of 2018,, it seems that the end  is coming all too soon for a player who emerged top scorer at UAE 2013 and was tipped to become the next big star of world football, whose national team coach, Gernot Rohr, has wielded the big stick on, by not naming him in the 23-man team for the two matchers during the upcoming FIFA international window.

And Iheanacho’s situation becomes all too precarious given that his Leicester teammate, Wilfred Ndidi, makes the national team grade  having been left out last time around because of suspension, occasioned by getting a yellow card,. In fairness to Ndidi, the midfielder has been a solid when in action for both club and country, posting great ,performance in the team’s last Premier League tie with Watford, which they lost 2-1.

Ndidi was rated high by commentators for his good display in the game. He was very busy mopping up possession and sniffing out danger in front of his central defenders. He was one of Leicester’s more effective players as they chased the game.. He was scored eight points from a maximum

While Ndidi was blossoming in the sunshine Spring against Watford, Iheanacho, who came in for Jamie Vardy on 82 minutes, did not get a sight of the goal, during his time on the pitch, labouring in vain to cancel out the home side’s lead.

Ridiculously, the former Manchester City striker, who was shipped out by Pep Guardiola from the Citizens squad,  has earned 30 appearances for City this season, scoring just two goals, one in the Premier League.

His last featured match for the Super Eagles was in November  2018, when Nigeria played a barren draw with Uganda, who like the Eagles, have qualified for the 2019 African Cup of Nations, set to hold in Egypt from June.

In search of clinical strikers, who will repay his faith in him with goals for the Super Eagles, Rohr has beamed his strikers searchlight to as many as eight forward players with familiar faces, comprising Ahmed Musa, Odion Oghalo, Alex Iwobi,  Henry Onyekuru, Rotherham United’s Semi Ajayi and Stoke’s Oghenekaro Etebo, a development that leaves Iheanacho

facing a possible exclusion from the 2019 AFCON team to Egypt.

 

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