Kelechi Iheanacho was included in Jose Peseiro’s 25-man squad but has not handed a playing time since the start of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign
Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho’s absence from Tuesday’s official pre-match conference ahead of Nigeria’s showdown with South Africa has stirred speculation regarding his discontent with coach Jose Peseiro, as reported by Soccernet.ng.
Throughout the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the former Manchester City forward has yet to see any action on the field, raising concerns within the Nigerian football community.
Soccernet.ng previously sought clarification from Super Eagles head coach Peseiro regarding Iheanacho’s situation. Peseiro attributed the striker’s lack of playing time to his recent recovery from injury, emphasizing that if he didn’t intend to use Iheanacho, he wouldn’t have included him in the squad.
However, despite five games passing without Iheanacho, Terem Moffi, Ahmed Musa, Bruno Onyemaechi, and others featuring, Iheanacho’s decision to abstain from the pre-match conference suggests a deeper level of frustration with the coach.
It has been rumored that Alhassan Yusuf will not be playing in tomorrow's game against Cote d'Ivoire and the rest of the tournament.
When questioned about Yusuf's condition, Jose Peseiro stated that the defensive midfielder won't be available for the Ivory Coast match, but he… pic.twitter.com/xonq2W89E7
— Ayomide Oguntimehin (@ayo_oguntimehin) January 17, 2024
A source close to the situation revealed that Iheanacho’s absence from the presser stems from his dissatisfaction with his limited playing time during the tournament, despite initially being scheduled to attend alongside coach Peseiro.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Super Eagles spokesman Babafemi Raji disclosed to reporters that it was the team’s decision for Ola Aina to substitute for Iheanacho.
There are suggestions that Peseiro struggles to integrate the Leicester City forward into his preferred 3-4-3 system, preferring to introduce defensive substitutes rather than attacking ones during games.