Striker Odion Ighalo is set to miss AFCON 2021 leaving the Super Eagles Nigeria with limited firepower to mount a formidable assault in Cameroon.
Ighalo’s availability has made headlines in the lead-up to the AFCON 2021 that Cameroon is hosting from January 9 to February 6.
“(Ighalo) is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” the Nigeria Football Federation is quoted by The BBC.
Ighalo’s club Al Shabab has reportedly declined to release Ighalo stating that his invitation missed the deadline required to trigger his release for international duty.
The 32-year-old strikers’ absence is a further blow for Nigeria who will be without three other high-profile European-based options who withdrew due to health or administrative reasons.
Napoli hot-shot Victor Osimhen suffered a double-blow with Covid-19 and facial injury both ruling him out.
Watford refused to release Emmanuel Denis while Paul Onuachu of Belgium club Genk is out due to injury.
Media speculation from Nigeria indicates that Dutch-based striker Cyriel Kolawole Dessers who has scored 10 goals in 27 games for Feneyoord this season is likely to be handed a late call-up.
Three-time winners Nigeria kickoff their AFCON campaign on January 11 in the final-before-the-final Group D opener against record seven-time champions Egypt.