Nigeria manager Augustine Eguavoen has ruled out Odion Ighalo from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles arrived in Cameroon in order to start their search for the fourth African title, after their three previous coronations in 1980, 2000, and 2013.
However, the road won’t be easy for the Nigerian national team as they confront the tournament’s record-holders Egypt in the Group stage opening game in the highlight of the AFCON day three.
Many expect the game to be tricky for both sides, especially as the winner of the tie will have a huge chance of finishing top of the group and avoid a difficult match-up in the round of 16.
The clash between the two giants takes place at 5PM tomorrow at the Roumade Adjua Stadium in Garoua, just three hours before Sudan take on Guinea-Bissau in the same group.
What made the matter worse for the Eagles is the absence of their forward Odion Ighalo, who was prevented by his club Al-Shabab of Saudi Arabia from joining the national team for the AFCON.
The Super Eagles have also failed to call up Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis and Napoli star Victor Osimhen after their club refused to let them go.
Eguavoen talked about the absences during the press conference for the Egypt game, claiming that at this point no one cares about excuses as regards the availability of Odion Ighalo.
“It’s over now, we have to face the truth, no one cares about excuses,” Eguavoen said.
“We must respect people’s opinions, but there are rules about laying off players. It is due to the player’s desire individually first, and who must fight to play for the national team.
“We were fighting similar battles during our playing days, and we were fighting to play for the national team because it is an honor.
“Everyone has the same goal, whether it is the football federation, the fans, or the players.”
Regarding former FC Porto coach Jose Peseiro taking charge of Nigeria after the AFCON, Iguavon said: “I can say that I am the new head coach.
“We were talking constantly and the cooperation between us is good. Anything we do here is important because we are building a team for him, so that he will continue to work on it when he takes over,” he added.