By Emmanuel Okogba
Victor Osimhen and Emmanuel Dennis are among four players who will not be at the Africa Cup of Nations next year despite their inclusion in the intial final list submitted by Super Eagles coach, Austin Eguavoen. Others are defenders, Shehu Abdullahi and Leon Balogun.
While Osimhen contracted Covid and reportedly asked to be excused, Emmanuel Dennis’ sitution has to do with an invitation that was not sent on time.
Both strikers had indicated and expressed readiness to be part of the Cameroon party but a disagreement over if Osimhen will be fit enough in time was already causing friction between his club, Napoli and the Nigeria Football Federation. His fate was sealed when the covid report came out.
Watford coach, Claudio Ranieri had hinted that Dennis would not be in Cameroon after their fixture against West Ham on Tuesday when he said the letter of invitation from the Nigeria Football Federation reached the club late.
“I’m not so sure I’ll miss Dennis now and if he goes to the national team, we have to wait,” said Ranieri, according to The Athletic.
“The email didn’t arrive at the right moment. The national team has time to send a pre-call. They didn’t respect the days, and I want to see.
“The email arrived late. “They have a time when they need to send a pre-call; if they don’t send it, we can choose.”
Both Balogun and Abdullahi will miss out due to injuries.
As replacements for the players, the NFF have called up Peter Olayinka (Slavia Praha, Czech), Tyronne Ebuehi (Venezia, Italy), Semi Ajayi (West Brom, England) and Henry Onyekuru (Olympiacos, Greece).
The Super Eagles AFCON camp opened on Wednesday and five players have arrived. They are: Daniel Akpeyi, Sodiq Umar, Olisa Ndah, John Noble and Taiwo Awoniyi
The team is expected to leave for Cameroon on January 5th.