The coronavirus pandemic continues to upset Nigeria’s preparations ahead of this month’s Afcon qualifiers, with at least four players already pulled out of the games by their clubs
Nigeria international Moses Simon has expressed his disappointment at missing out on the Super Eagles Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches next week, insisting he loves playing for his fatherland.
But the Nantes forward maintains he understands why French clubs have to stop their players from travelling out of the country to red-flag zones with the COVID-19 still raging in several parts of the world.
Simon was in head coach Gernot Rohr’s original 24-man list for Nigeria’s engagements against the Benin Republic and Lesotho on March 27th and 30th, respectively.
Following the ban imposed on international players by the Ligue 1 organisers, Simon was replaced by Genk’s free-scoring striker Paul Onuachu.
Some Spanish clubs have toed a similar route as their French counterparts, with Almeria denying Sadiq Umar his dream debut and Leganes stopping Kenneth Omeruo from joining his Super Eagles mates.
Simon knows this could hamper Nigeria’s chances of qualifying for next year’s Afcon, expressing his desire that club and country find the right balance.
“The challenge is to find the right balance because I understand where the clubs are coming from due to the strict covid rules in France,” Simon told BBC Sport Africa.
“My club Nantes is struggling and not in a good place, so it’s difficult for the team to allow any of our players to travel.
“It’s actually a sad and disappointing situation because I love to play for my country.”
Galatasaray’s Henry Onyekuru and Enyimba’s Anayo Iwuala are among the players allready called up to replace travel-banned Nigerian stars.