Stoke City of England midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo and other Nigerian players currently battling injury problems have all received encouraging words and sympathetic backing to be fit enough for next month’s matches in the Super Eagles in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, megasportsarena.com reports.
Etebo and five other Eagles’ players are in various stages of rehabilitation and recovery, but coach of the Nigerian national team, Gernot Rohr has parried speculation that they might not be available for next month’s games against Sierra Leone at the restart of matches in the AFCON 2021 qualifiers.
Rather than sweat over reports of the injuries that got to a head last weekend, Rohr said he is not in any worried, but stressed that all six of the lads currently battling fitness issues will be in his squad list next month.
He went on to categorically state that the sextet of Etebo, Kenneth Omeruo, Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi and Samuel Kalu will all bounce back quickly from their ongoing battles with various fitness issues.
Speaking against the backdrop of injuries copped last weekend by Osimhen, Omeruo and Simon, Rohr said he has nothing to worry about, as he believes all three will recover before his team’s next AFCON 2021 qualifier against Sierra Leone.
The Franco-German tactician equally enthused that Ndidi and Kalu are already recovering pretty fast from recent fitness issues as well, with a verdict that all five will be good enough to make his first list of invitees for 2020, ahead of the double date against Sierras Leone next month.
Nigeria currently tops Group L of the 2021 AFCON qualification table and would qualify early to next year’s championship in Cameroon should they pick maximum points from two upcoming games against Sierra Leone, ahead of which Rohr admitted he will not be with his first choice goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho, but affirmed that the aforementioned five will be available.
He further expressed profound confidence that the core of his players will be available for next month’s AFCON 2021 qualifiers despite injuries over the past weekend across different leagues and clubs in Europe, as he revealed speaking to those in question and believes they will be ready to take on Sierra Leone home and away in March.
The Eagles’ tactician acknowledged that Uzoho remains a long-term injury doubt, while there is hope for Etebo returning to action this month, and Simon is waiting on a scan done this week to determine how long he will be on the treatment table, hence his optimism that they will all be available for the Eagles, who are top of their group with six points from two games, and will host Sierra Leone on March 23 with the reverse tie in Freetown a week later.
Rohr told AOIFootball.com: “I’m very confident that our injured players will come back soon. There is only one big injury which is Uzoho because he is out for several months but the other ones like Osimhen will be okay very soon and is already better. Omeruo has only a knock on the head, Kalu whom I saw, is already nursing a comeback this weekend.
“For Moses Simon, we have to wait to know the extent and for Ndidi he is resting very well and will be fit very soon. We have a little injury for Etebo and he couldn’t play over the weekend, but it’s not a big one. Osimhen will soon be okay, Ndidi is resting well and will be fit soon, while Omeruo has only a knock on the head. I am confident our injured players will come back soon.
“Samuel is a good boy; he always had an exemplary behavior in national team. At the start of the season, he was the best dribbler in Europe. He did good things even if he was not at his position. He has the characteristics of a wingman, the percussion, the technique, the speed, the center in first intension, a good strike. He can play on both sides. He had a little injury; and I really hope he returns to the field soon.”