Injury rules Ezenwa out of Nigeria vs Mexico friendly

Ikechuwku Ezenwa

NFF technical director Austin Eguavoen has confirmed Ikechukwu Ezenwa will miss the Super Eagles’ international friendly outing against Mexico on Sunday morning.

The 32-year-old suffered an ankle injury during a training session in the Abuja camp and he has not recovered fully to make the trip to the United States of America.

Nigeria’s 22-man squad will leave the country on Wednesday for California, where they will battle El Tri at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Ezenwa's withdrawal leaves Eguavoen with two goalkeepers - Enyimba's John Noble and Lobi Stars' Nwabali Stanley – for the game.

“It is a bit funny, he came with no problem at all and then we had a very tough training session, he complained about his ankle and the medical team managed him well,” Eguavoen told NFF media.

“The next day, he came out and that evening, he said he could not even walk and it was swollen. Up until yesterday, we were trying to see how far we can go, we have taken him to the hospital for a scan.

“And the good news is that the scan revealed there is no fracture, just ligament - swollen tissues. The swelling is still there and he has not trained for the past two days.

“He is out and I will speak to him later, he should just take it in good fate, another opportunity will present itself. He is out of the trip, so we are having two goalkeepers.”

On Monday, Ezenwa told Goal the Super Eagles are capable of beating Mexico as they eye their first victory over the North American country.

Meanwhile, Eguavoen added that the one-week training camp of the home-based players has been helpful for the technical team to familiarise themselves with the squad.

He continued: “22 players will be on the journey tonight, we had almost 27 in camp but we have trimmed that, and we will have 22 players on board the aircraft. There have been a lot of improvements, I'm not saying there were down there before because they’re up there, it is just to let them know how we want to play and how to figure out what position should be best for the players.

“It has not been easy, it's been very tough. It’s not been so easy with the player selection, they should give us a lot of commendation because selecting 22 players out of a league of over 800 players is not so easy and this is a league that is on, and we were not able to see all of them.

“It's not been so easy, so it's just something we just accept, and you know it is not my primary role, I just decided to take it because there is no coach on ground so let's try to see how we can encourage ourselves. We're giving an opportunity to these kids now, for them to showcase themselves and hopefully, they will go out there and put up a good performance.”

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