The former Afcon winners face the Mexican national team next week in what is the first of two friendly matches arranged to prepare the Eagles for the Afcon qualifiers next month
Almeria star Umar Sadiq could be unavailable for Nigeria’s friendly clash with Mexico’s El Tri in the United States if the latest report from Spain is anything to go by.
The Super Eagles trade tackles with the North American giants at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on May 29 – the same day that Almeria will take on Leganes in the final match of the regular Spanish Segunda Division season.
It is shaping up to be the most important game of Almeria’s season, with automatic promotion to La Liga on the line.
Almeria’s leading goalscorer, Sadiq, fired blanks as La Union were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw at home to basement club Alcorcon at the weekend.
A win in that encounter would have guaranteed promotion to the elite division and freed up Sadiq to honour the national assignment.
It is now win-or-burst for the Rojiblancos at Leganes on the 29th, with a draw or loss capable of pushing them down into the promotion playoffs. Especially if leaders Eibar avoid a defeat at Alcorcon and third-place Real Valladolid claim victory at home to Huesca.
Unsurprisingly, Almeria would not be willing to part with their most valuable player for this crucial meeting, but there is yet no communication from the club in this regard.
But head coach Rubi had earlier suggested, as per Estadio Deportivo, that La Union would not let Sadiq leave for the Super Eagles engagement should their promotion hopes rest on the season finale against Leganes.
“We haven’t talked about it yet, but logic tells us that if we play for something against Leganés, Sadiq won’t go to play those friendlies,” Rubi said, when the Super Eagles 30-man list for the friendlies was released a couple of weeks ago.
Sadiq’s absence would be a big blow to the Super Eagles, especially with star striker Victor Osimhen not invited for the friendlies. Genk star Paul Onuachu, Union Berlin bomber Taiwo Awoniyi, and Al Hilal target man Odion Ighalo are also not available for the matches.
Watford-bound goalkeeper Maduka Okoye is also reportedly set to miss the games against Mexico and Ecuador.
Last year, when Nigeria met Mexico in a friendly encounter, El Tri handed a 4-0 thrashing to a Super Eagles team B comprising of players mostly drawn from the NPFL.