Super Eagles’ quest to consolidate on their recent victories over Indomitable Lions is being threatened by players’ withdrawals from the two friendly internationals in Austria this month, reports ESPN.
According to the website, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Coach Gernot Rohr are struggling to raise a formidable team for the two matches against perennial rivals, Cameroon. The matches will hold on June 4 and June 8 in Austria.
In recent times, Nigeria has dominated Cameroon in international football in a rivalry that dates to 1984.
After the Indomitable Lions’ victories in the final matches of the 1984, 1988 and 2000 African Cup of Nations, the Super Eagles have had the upper hand from 2004 till date, with Rohr’s side coming out tops in the last consequential ties.
Nigeria beat Cameroun to the Russia 2018 World Cup ticket and also eliminated the Indomitable Lions at the Egypt 2019 African Cup of Nations. The Austria friendlies were meant to test Nigeria’s readiness for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, as well as push the team up the world rankings.
But chances of success have been threatened by the injury-forced withdrawals of Ola Aina, Victor Osimhen, Tyronne Ebuehi, Simeon Tochukwu Nwankwo and Frank Onyeka.
ESPN reports that late call up, Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Samson Tijani, has also withdrawn from the squad due to physical problems.
Rohr told the website, “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 injured. He sent 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 sent us attestation from his club that he cannot make it because he is injured.”
Rohr did not include Glasgow Rangers’ Leon Balogun, West Brom’s Semi Ajayi, Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi, Leganes’ Kenneth Omeruo, Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze due to injuries.