Official: Ighalo ruled out of Africa Cup of Nations

Odion Ighalo Getty

Odion Ighalo has been ruled out of Nigeria’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Cameroon, Nigeria Football Federation has confirmed.

In a statement released by the football ruling body, the former Manchester United striker will play no part at the 33rd edition of the African football showpiece.

“Forward Odion Ighalo is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” part of the statement read.

With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Genk’s Paul Onuachu already ruled out of the competition, Ighalo was expected to lead the Super Eagles charge for goals.

Nonetheless, that will not become a reality but no replacement has been announced.

GOAL gathered Ighalo was not released by his Saudi Arabia club Al Shabab owing to contractual reasons.

Before joining the White Lion from Shanghai Shenhua in 2021, the 2019 Afcon top scorer signed a clause that he would not be involved in international duties.

Prior to that move, Ighalo had announced his retirement from the Nigeria national team, however, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr as the German moved to solve the Super Eagles’ worrisome attacking line.

In the same vein, Tyronne Ebuehi and Germany based Jamilu Collins are expected to join the Nigeria national team in Garoua having been given special consideration by the NFF.

Meanwhile, the Super Eagles who were flown into Garoua aboard an Air Peace jet, will lodge inside Hotel Ribadou.

Zoned in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau, Eguavoen’s men will begin on January 11 against the Pharaohs at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.

Four days later, they will try the Falcons of Jediane for size before squaring up against the Djurtus on January 19 in Garoua.

Full Squad for Afcon 2021

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

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Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Tyronne Ebuehi (Venezia); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion); 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); 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 (Slavia Prague).