The list of the senior national team of Nigeria was released yesterday and two names were conspicuously missing from the squad for the upcoming games against South Africa and Uganda.
Nigeria will take on South Africa in their penultimate AFCON 2019 Qualifiers and few days later play Uganda in an international friendly to help coach Gernot Rohr prepare the team for their final AFCON 2019 Qualifiers tie against Seychelles.
Captain of the Nigerian team John Obi Mikel was expected to make a return after overcoming his fitness issues and even scoring for his Chinese side Tianjin Teda in their last league game on Sunday but he wasn’t listed by Rohr.
Trabzonspor midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was also dropped from the squad despite his return to full fitness from the injury that saw him missed Nigeria’s back to back AFCON 2019 Qualifiers tie against Libya.
Many media outlets have given reasons for their omissions but in the words of Rohr who spoke with Collin Udoh of KweseESPN, Mikel opted out of the game while he is not sure yet about the fitness of Onazi, hence he decided to leave him out.
On Mikel : “Mikel told me that he will tell me when he will be ready to come back. He didn’t tell me yet. So I wait,” the German said.
Despite that, the coach hopes to have his captain back in time to take part at the tournament proper: “I hope that we can go with him to Afcon and win it for him.”
On Onazi : “I have to be aware of the health of our players. We didn’t want to do injections on Achilles tendons before the games.”