The absence of defender Kenneth Omeruo is a major setback for Nigeria leading up to two all-im...
The absence of defender Kenneth Omeruo is a major setback for Nigeria leading up to two all-important AFCON qualifiers against Egypt later this month. The 23 year old has been ruled out of the qualifiers due to a groin injury.
Omeruo has been one of the country’s most consistent defenders in Europe and was widely viewed as the man to stop Egypt dangerman Mohamed Salah when both teams clash in crucial AFCON qualifiers on March 25 and March 29.
His youthfulness, energy and speed were seen as the antidote for the dangerous Salah. He benched then skipper Joseph Yobo to partner Godfrey Oboabona as Nigeria against most expectations clinched a third AFCON crown in South Africa three years ago.
Before a groin injury which will sideline him till the end of the month, the Chelsea loanee has established himself at Turkish club Kasimpasa so much so that they are now considering offering him a permanent deal at the end of the season.
|Omeruo has made 18 appearances in the league for Kasimpasa, who are seventh on the Turkish Super Lig table.|
The on-loan Chelsea defender has so far made 18 appearances in the league for Kasimpasa, who are seventh on the Turkish Super Lig table.
Possible replacements for him in the Eagles would be Germany-based Leon Balogun, Efe Ambrose from Scottish champions Celtic with CHAN Eagles centre-half Austin Obaroakpo an outsider.
Despite featuring regularly for German Bundesliga outfit Mainz 05 this season, Balogun was not an immediate call-up by coach Samson Siasia after information was gathered how the heat in Kaduna last June adversely affected him.
Ambrose, on the other hand, has reinvented himself in the Super Eagles after coach Sunday Oliseh deployed him to his more familiar central defence role than right back.
He justified his place in the heart of the Eagles back four with two well-taken goals against Cameroon (a friendly) and Swaziland (2018 World Cup qualifier).
Even though he has this season been struggling for game time at equally struggling Celtic, he is most likely to now pair the slow Oboabona to stop the Egyptian attack in Kaduna, where he was born and cut his football teeth.
Abia Warriors star Obaroakpo has already been capped at full international level by Oliseh and featured at the recent CHAN.
He will now most likely be a cover for both Ambrose and Balogun.