UPDATE: Nigeria drops Oshimhen, Dennis, Balogun from AFCON squad

UPDATE: Nigeria drops Oshimhen, Dennis, Balogun from AFCON squad

Victor Oshimhen, Emmanuel Dennis, Leon Balogun and Abdulahi Shehu have been dropped from the Super Eagles squad tasked for battle at the 2022 AFCON.

This is because of injuries as well as health concerns.

The NFF’s spokesperson, Ademola Olajire, made this known on Friday, adding that only the goalkeeping department is unchanged.

In their place four players have been called up.

They are: right back Tyrone Ebuehi, England–based Oluwasemilogo, Greece-based Henry Onyekuru, and Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka.

There has been massive opposition from European club sides for the release of key players to participate in Africa’s biggest fiesta.

The European media has joined in, with some even cajoling African players on the relevance and significance of the AFCON tournament.

For instance, Italian club side Napoli has for weeks been looking for every excuse in the book to prevent Victor Oshimhen from participating in Cameroun.

First they claimed he has not sufficiently recovered from his cheekbone and collar injury.

Then on Thursday it announced that on arrival back in Italy, Oshimhen had tested positive for COVID-19.

It appears that gave the NFF the impression that Napoli was hell-bent on holding on to the striker, hence they dropped him.

“Lively forward Victor Osimhen’s positive test to the coronavirus pandemic a couple of days ago,” NFF spokesman Olajire opined.

“And injury to the versatile Abdullahi Shehu have constrained changes to Nigeria’s final 28-man list for the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations starting in Cameroon next weekend.

“Osimhen’s absence paves way for Greece-basedHenry Onyekuru who was also at the last finals in Egypt.

Osimhen is isolating back in Italy.

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For Emmanuel Dennis, his English Premiership club Watford has been so embittered because the Hornets are almost certain relegation candidates.

Coach Claudio Ranieri has on Wednesday claimed that Dennis would not be released because the NFF failed to send an e-mail in time to make plans for life without their Nigerian talisman.

Discerning minds knew this was simply a ploy by the much-travelled Italian to save himself rom the inevitable sack at the end of the season.

Again, the NFF had to switch to Plan B.

“In-form rapid raider Emmanuel Dennis, whose English Premiership club is baring fangs,” Olajire revealed.

(Dennis) has been excused to provide room for Czech Republic-based forward Peter Olayinka.

The inevitable omission of versatile defender Shehu now gives Tyrone Ebuehi the chance to make the right-back position his own.


The Venezia defender has been in terrific form for his Serie A side and can play both at right and left back.

Rangers Defender Leon Balogun ahs not fully recovered from an injury he suffered while on club duties in November.

His absence means Wes Brom defender Oluwasemilogo Ajayi – who can play in midfield – will have his chance in Cameroun.

Ajayi has been in imperious for for the Baggies who are poised to make a quick return to the top echelon of the English premier league.

Pundits say he could bring some steel and mobility to the center-back position which would be vital especially against fast-playing teams in Cameroun come January.

The Super Eagles are currently camping in Abuja.

Mazino Dickson/NFF/Punch
UPDATE: Nigeria drops Oshimhen, Dennis, Balogun from AFCON squad

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