The three-time African champions have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the biennial showpiece after four players, including their top strikers, pulled out from the squad
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Watford attacker Emmanuel Dennis will not be a part of Nigeria’s travelling party to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has announced.
Also, Abdullahi Shehu and Leon Balogun have been excused from the squad after both players failed to recover from their injuries.
The NFF released a statement on Friday, which detailed the reasons why the players were excused and players that have been called up as replacements.
Osimhen was dropped from the squad after he tested positive for coronavirus, while he is also yet to recover fully from the facial injury he suffered in November.
The reason for Dennis’ withdrawal was not revealed, but it may have to do with Watford’s refusal to release him after his invitation came in late.
Shehu and Balogun are both nursing injuries they picked up at their respective clubs and will not recover in time for the tournament.
The absence of the four players, especially Osimhen and Dennis, is a massive blow to the Super Eagles hopes of winning a fourth continental title in Cameroon.
Meanwhile, Henry Onyekuru, Peter Olayinka, Tyronne Ebuehi and Semi Ajayi have been called up to replace the four players.
Onyekuru comes in for Osimhen, while Olayinka replaces Dennis. Ebuehi and Ajayi will provide defensive cover in the absence of Balogun and Shehu.
The four players are expected to join the rest of the players at their Abuja camp latest by January 3.
The Super Eagles begin their quest for a fourth AFCON title with a clash against the Pharaohs of Egypt on January 11.
SUPER EAGLES’ revised SQUAD FOR 33RD AFCON CAMEROON 2021
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Tyrone Ebuehi (Venezia FC, Italy); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Olisa Ndah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Olympiacos FC, Greece); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Praha, Czech Republic.