Three Nigerian players based in France have missed training at the gym in Lagos ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers games against Lesotho and Benin Republic on March 27 and 30.
This is according to the Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, who briefed journalists while the players had a light training session on Monday in preparation for the matches.
He revealed that the affected players in Europe would be absent following the COVID-19 restriction imposed by the French government.
A third of France’s population was under a new partial lockdown Saturday to stop the spread of COVID-19, as some European countries resumed AstraZeneca vaccinations following an all-clear from EU regulators and the WHO.
The pandemic is still speeding up worldwide, with the number of new global coronavirus infections rising by 14 per cent over the last week compared to the previous week.
Rohr explained that although he expects more players, he would replace the absentees with local players from Enyimba.
“Some of our players could not come because of the (COVID-19) restrictions, especially the players playing in France. They are not allowed to come,” he said.
“We are missing our three players from the list. We have to replace them so I found some local players to replace these people.”
The three local players are Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble and striker Anayo Iwuala alongside Abia Warriors defender Adeleke Adekunle have been summoned to the Super Eagles’ set-up for the first time.
The coach also supervised the gym work-out with the early arrivals that include captain of the team Ahmed Musa, Assistant Captain, William Troosk-Ekong, Ola Aina, Semi Ajayi, Henry Onyekuru, and Oghenekaro Etebo.
Nigeria currently tops the Group E log with eight points (one ahead of Benin Republic and five more than third-placed Sierra Leone).
The Eagles will tackle the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on Saturday, March 27, and will lock horns with the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos three days later. Both are the concluding games of the AFCON qualifying series.