….As Osimhen, Simy Nwankwo, Aina, Ajayi, Ebuehi Withdraw
By Alexander Johnson Adejoh
A number of key Super Eagles players have pulled out of Friday’s friendly against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon putting the game in peril.
The highly anticipated friendly is expected to take place at Stadion Weiner Neustadt.
According to Gernot Rohr, ‘We had nine defenders in list. Six now are out.
‘They said they had some injuries and the doctors from the clubs said they need to rest because they have some pains. So we got some medical attestations from the teams.
‘Ola Aina told me yesterday that his ankle is painful and he cannot make it and the club physio said he cannot play. Then we have (Kevin) Akpoguma, we knew already he is injured and cannot play.
‘Victor Osimhen is also injured. He send us an attestation. The meniscus in his knee is painful.
‘(Zaidu) Sanusi is injured. He was in Paris to see a doctor, for surgery perhaps but not for the moment. (Tyronne) Ebuehi sent us a message with a medical attestation that he cannot make it. And Semi Ajayi also says he has problems with his back and the Physio says he needs two weeks of rest.
‘Simy Nwankwo also, they send us attestation from his club that he cannot make it because he is injured,’.
But that is not even as bad as it gets for Rohr. To make up for the absentee players, Rohr called up some fresh ones as replacements. Valentine Ozornwafor from Galatasaray, Samson Tijani from RB Salzburg and Frank Onyeka from Midtylland, among others.
But even that failed to resolve the situation as players that he called up to replace the injured players, also ended up pulling out.
‘I invited the player Tijani from Salzburg who has told me that he is injured in training yesterday, hamstring. And Frank Onyeka from Midjtylland, I called him but he cannot come either,’ Rohr lamented.
Because the withdrawals came so late in the day, there is no chance of getting players from Nigeria’s domestic league to compensate for the personnel deficits, as they would require at least 10 days to secure entry visas.
The situation has left Rohr concerned about the fate of the game: ‘I don’t know if they can cancel, I only know that I have maximum 18 players. If the players from England, William (Troost-Ekong), Kelechi, Ndidi and Iwobi can come, then maybe we play but I have no substitutes and there is no chance to get other players.
‘But if they cannot play because they have to go into quarantine, then we cannot make it.
‘I think they made this friendly in Austria to give us a good condition for preparation, but I see that it is difficult to motivate the players to come to Europe because some of the players are in Nigeria already. And they have to come back to Europe to play.
‘My problem now is that I hope that we will have 18 players to arrive,’. He added.