The Nigeria national football team, the Super Eagles, on Wednesday had their second training session as they step up preparations for their crucial Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifying matches against Libya. And as SportsDay reported on Tuesday, three players have already been ruled out due to injuries.
Already, 22 of the 24 players invited to face Libya are on the ground in Uyo and they are all looking forward to Saturday’s game billed for the Akwa Ibom Stadium, as well as the reverse leg in Sfax, Tunisia three days later.
Stand-in skipper, Ahmed Musa, is top on the list of players getting set for battle against the Mediterranean Knights of Libya.
Three-time African champions, Nigeria has failed to qualify for the last two editions of the AFCON tournament. Even now, a three-point rating against present Group E pacesetters, Libya, is not negotiable, come Saturday.
Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, as well as defenders William Ekong, Semi Ajayi, Leon Balogun, Olaoluwa Aina, Jamilu Collins, Abdullahi Shehu, Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo are among those at the Ibom Meridien Hotels and Resort.
Also on ground are midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Kalu, Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu and Oghenekaro Etebo, and forwards Isaac Success, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Only Russia –based wing back, Bryan Idowu and China-based forward, Odion Ighalo are being expected on Wednesday.
There are however fears that the duo may be affected by the strike action at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, early Wednesday morning.
The Mediterranean Knights top Group E with four points (from their defeat of Seychelles and draw with South Africa), while South Africa (winner over Nigeria before they drew with Libya) are second and Nigeria, who lost to South Africa and defeated Seychelles, lie third.
The Libyan Football Federation confirmed on Monday that a 54-man delegation, comprising players, technical crew, backroom staff and LFF officials will fly into Ibom International Airport, Uyo, aboard a chartered aircraft on Thursday.
It was however gathered that erstwhile coach of the Libya’s national team, Adel Amrouche, will not be in Uyo, having reportedly resigned from his post owing to a backlog of unpaid salaries.
Meanwhile, the match officials for Saturday’s tie from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the referee assessor from Mali and the security officer from South Africa, are all billed to arrive in Nigeria on Thursday and then fly to Uyo Friday morning.