As many as 19 Super Eagles players may be doubtful for the 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying clashes with Sierra Leone later this month due to the precautions against the deadly Coronavirus, Completesports.com reports.
Nigerian players in affected countries such as France, England, Italy, Germany and Spain might not be available for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers as a result of the rules guiding the highly infectious disease.
The Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has activated a national Emergency Operations Centre at the highest level and is leading the national response.
It has also advised travelers to Nigeria, saying: “Travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission* but who show no symptoms on arrival should self-isolate at home for 14 days after arrival.
“If travelers from countries with ongoing local transmission* feel ill with fever, cough or difficulty breathing within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, please, observe self-isolation immediately by staying indoors and avoiding contact with people.”
What this simply means is that Eagles players such as Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo, Chidozie Awaziem (Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Wigan Athletic, England); William Troost-Ekong (Udinese, Italy) and Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy) are doubtful.
Other doubtfuls are Jamilu Collins (Padeborn, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Koln, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Etebo Oghenekaro (Getafe, Spain); Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England).
Ramon Azeez (Granada, Spain); Alexander Iwobi (Everton, England); Victor Osimhen (Lille, France); Moses Simon (Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain) and Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France) are also major doubts alongside manager, Gernot Rohr who will return from France.
This is because each of these players and Super Eagles head coach, Rohr himself will be coming into Nigeria from countries with widespread Coronavirus outbreak and some already on partial lockdown, casting huge doubts on the matches against Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, Ndidi and Iheanacho are facing serious coronavirus fears after Leicester on Thursday confirmed having three unnamed players who are isolating amid fears over the deadly disease.
Premier League clubs also do not want to release their players for this month’s international break because of Coronavirus.
Club medics are extremely reluctant to let their players who are multi-million pound assets travel overseas given the risks attached.
By Oluyemi Ogunseyin
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