Ukraine vs Nigeria friendly: Onyekuru, Ndidi and the 5 Super Eagles stars who have pulled out
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr, early August, announced the list of the 22-man squad to prosecute the international friendly between Nigeria and the Yellow Men slated for Tuesday in the Ukraine city of Dnipro but five of those sent the original invites have informed the Super Eagles manager of their absence.
In the first game for the Super Eagles since the duo of John Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo retired from international football, Gernot Rohr’s men will converge in Ukraine shorn of the presence of five more key players who have decided to pull out of the tie due to different reasons.
Kenneth Omeruo, Tyronne Ebuehi, Henry Onyekuru, Wilfred Ndidi and Ahmed Musa have all confirmed their unavailability when Andriy Shevchenko lead his men to tackle the Super Eagles on September 10 in the first competitive encounter between the two nations.
Defender Kenneth Omeruo is still processing his work permit in Spain having only completed his permanent switch to Leganes from Chelsea days ago. Tyronne Ebuehi and Wilfried Ndidi have been advised to rest with both recuperating from injuries.
However, Henry Onyekuru, who joined Monaco from Everton permanently this summer, cited his inability to secure a resident permit as the reason for his withdrawal from the encounter. Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa also pulled out of the warm-up game due to an injury he suffered while in action for his Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr recently.
In their places, the head coach of the Super Eagles has handed late call ups to PAOK’s midfield strongman Anderson Esiti, Locomotiv Moscow’s wingback Bryan Idowu, Club Brugge’s forward Dennis Bonaventure and Bordeaux’s striker Josh Maja.
Bonaventure joins Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo, Bordeaux forward Josh Maja and Fortuna Dusseldorf goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, as the new invitees who will be aiming to make their Super Eagles debuts against Andriy Shevchenko’s men.
In the absence of former Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa, Udinese defender William Troost-Ekong will skipper the three-time African champions against Andriy Shevchenko’s men.
In goal, Maduka Okoye may wait a bit longer to earn his maiden bow if Gernot Rohr decides to start Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
In the absence of Omeruo, the returning Semi Ajayi will likely partner Troost-Ekong, with both Ola Aina and Bryan Idowu filling in at fullbacks.
Anderson Esiti is expected to slot right into the Ndidi hole to complete the midfield triangle with Everton’s Alex Iwobi and Stoke’s Oghenekaro Etebo. Ranger’s Joe Aribo should taste a piece of the action later in the game.
Victor Osimhen has earned the right to lead the attack but Rohr may still keep the Lille hot-shot on the bench for Kelechi Iheanacho to justify his callup.
Any of the two would be ably flanked by Samuel Chukwueze and Moses Simon. Samuel Kalu and Josh Maja will be given minutes as the day wears on.
Nigeria face Ukraine on Tuesday in a friendly encounter at the Dnipro Arena.