Nigeria will be without striker Odion Ighalo at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after his Saudi Arabian club Al Shabab refused to let him join his teammates. The tournament will start on the 9th of this month, and two-three of Nigeria finest strikers has already been ruled out of the tournament. Victor Osimhen and Paul Onuachu were dropped due to injury, while Emmanuel Dennis was not released by his Premier League side, Watford.
Al Shabab Stop Odion Ighalo From Playing AFCON 2021
The 32-year-old top scorer at the last Nations Cup in 2019 was initially given a deadline of Tuesday to confirm his availability by interim Super Eagles coach Augustine Eguavoen. However, Ighalo was not part of the squad that landed in Garoua late on Wednesday, and a statement from the Nigeria Football Federation said he “is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club”.
The player’s club side Al Shabab refused the player who is their top scorer’s from going for a tournament. They said the Nigeria Football Federation NFF missed the official deadline to call up the player. The Riyad club official Majid Al-Marzouki said that Ighalo’s letter of invitation did not reach the club within the period specified by world governing body Fifa for receiving players’ call-up letters.
“The Fifa Player Status Regulations stipulates that the federation must notify the player and his club in writing of his summons 15 days before the start of the tournament, and it is advised to send a copy to the local federation of the club as well, which did not happen,” Al-Marzouki said. Accordingly, the coach [Pericles Chamusca] told us that the player will stay with us and will not join the Nigerian team.
As “it stands now there are no negotiations between the club and Nigerian federation, it is concluded that Odion Ighalo is committed to the decision, and the case is settled. Nigeria will play their opening game against Egypt on Tuesday, 11 January.