The national team shot-stopper is aware that Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo will not be available for selection at the continental championship
Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye has revealed his secret wish is that Feyenoord attacker Cyriel Dessers be invited to replace Al-Shabab striker Odion Ighalo on Nigeria’s 28-man roster for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
With Super Eagles’ first-choice forwards Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Genk’s Paul Onuachu ruled out of the Afcon, interim coach Augustine Eguavoen put his trust in tournament debutants Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi and Almeria’s Umar Sadiq.
Afcon 2019 top goalscorer Ighalo, returning from retirement, was included to add much-needed experience to a largely greenhorn attack. But his Saudi Arabian club has refused to release the ex-Watford man for the championship, leaving Nigeria short on manpower.
Dessers is one of the players who could replace Ighalo, with the Feyenoord star in impressive form. The 27-year-old has four goals in six appearances in the Europa Conference League and netted another four in only 333 minutes in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie.
Although Eguavoen has ruled out the possibility of inviting Dessers no matter what happens between Ighalo and Al Shabab, Okoye is still praying for some miracle to bring the ex-Utrecht man to Cameroon.
“Victor Osimhen cannot participate, and his replacement, Odion Ighalo, is having trouble getting permission from his club in Saudi Arabia,” the 22-year-old told RTV Rijnmond, as per FeyenoordPings.
“If that doesn’t work, I think Dessers should be called up. I secretly still hope for that.”
Ighalo or Dessers or not, the Super Eagles will have to be at their very best to secure a positive result when they face seven-time Afcon champions Egypt on Tuesday.