Reports claim the Afcon 2019 top scorer will be out of Cameroon 2021 with the Netherlands based forward expected to take his place
Odion Ighalo could be out of Nigeria’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Cameroon, according to reports.
With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Genk’s Paul Onuachu already ruled out of the 33rd edition of the African football showpiece, the former Manchester United striker was expected to lead the Super Eagles’ charge for goals.
Nonetheless, that may not become a reality if the news coming from the three-time African champion’s camp is anything to go by.
GOAL gathered that Ighalo was not released by his Saudi Arabia club Al Shabab owing to contractual reasons.
Before joining the White Lion from Shanghai Shenhua in 2021, the 2019 Afcon top scorer signed a clause that he would not be involved in international duties.
Prior to that move, Ighalo had announced his retirement from the Nigeria national team, however, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr as the German moved to solve the Super Eagles’ worrisome attacking line.
As it stands, the Nigeria Football Federation, Confederation of African Football and Federation of International Football Association are in talks with the Prince Khalid bin Sultan Stadium giants.
Except for any late consideration by the Saudi side, the Lagos-born goal poacher will be missing in action when Augustine Eguavoen’s men take on the rest of Africa in their quest for a fourth African title.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that Feyenoord star Cyriel Dessers could be a late replacement for Ighalo.
Born in Belgium to a Belgian father and Nigerian mother, Dessers chose to represent Nigeria at the international level in December 2019.
He was called up by the Nigeria national team in March 2020 as part of the team invited for the Afcon qualifying fixtures against the Sierra Leone national team.
Having failed to play in that showdown, he waited until October before making his bow in a friendly 1–1 draw with Tunisia.
Following his performances at Genk, he was loaned to the Dutch side at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. And in 14 league matches, he boasts four goals for Arne Slot’s men.
In the same vein, Tyronne Ebuehi and Germany based Jamilu Collins are yet to join the rest of the Nigeria national team expected to depart for Garoua on Wednesday evening.
Zoned in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau, Eguavoen’s men will begin on January 11 against the Pharaohs.