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WC Qualification Africa

Rohr reveals why Bordeaux’s Kalu was excluded from Liberia and Cape Verde games

13:19 GMT 04/11/2021
Samuel Kalu - Nigeria
The winger was not invited for Super Eagles’ matches against the Lone Star and the Blue Sharks and the German tactician has provided an explanation

Coach Gernot Rohr has revealed why Bordeaux star Samuel Kalu was not called up for Nigeria’s World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde.

The winger has been a key figure in the Super Eagles squad since the German tactician took charge of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

Astonishingly, the 24-year-old was not listed among the players to take on the Lone Star and Blue Sharks en route 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

According to Rohr, the jet-heeled forward asked for permission to sit out the World Cup qualifiers in a bid to concentrate on his club career following a topsy-turvy 2021-22 campaign.

“I spoke with him and he asked not to be selected,” the former Gabon and Burkina Faso handler told France Bleu Gironde.

“He made a very good argument about wanting to concentrate on the club - he told me that the time had come for him to give his all, to fight to regain his place in the Girondin's squad. I found his speech to be very positive.

“We have a lot of wingers in our squad, that is true. The competition is fierce, but I think what matters now is for him to have a starting place at Girondins. He has the means, but he has to be in top physical condition.”

In the 2021-22 campaign, Kalu has featured in just nine Ligue 1 matches – with three of them in the starting XI. His only goal of the season campaign came in the 3-3 draw against Montpellier on September 22.

Since collapsing during a league game against Olympique Marseille in August, the former Gent and AS Trencin man has been battling with one injury or the other.

Now that he's edging towards being fully fit, he will be hoping to feature for Vladimir Petkovic’s men when they square up against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

Nigeria will travel to Morocco for their penultimate Group C fixture against Liberia on November 13 before hosting Cape Verde in Lagos, three days later.

The three-time African champions lead Group C having accrued nine points from four matches while the Blue Sharks trail in the second spot with seven points.