Racing Genk of Belgium striker, Paul Ebere Onuachu has gained another late call-up to the Super Eagles’ camp, but this time it is simply because COVID-19 restrictions in Europe are bound to keep some of the original invitees away, megasportsarena.com reports.
With a couple of players also ruled out with injuries and coronavirus regulations looking likely to keep those based in France away from the March 27th Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin Republic and versus Lesotho three days later, Eagles’ coach, Gernot Rohr has again handed Onuachu a late call.
Just as it was in November for the double AFCON qualifiers against Sierra Leone, when Onuachu, who has scored 27 goals in all competitions so far this season in Belgium, was also a late invitee, the former FC Midtjylland of Denmark giant is now heading to the Eagles’ camp next week in place of another set of players.
This much has been confirmed by communications department of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), which took to social media to reveal the update, with the official explanation being that the decision comes following uncertainties regarding the availability of France-based players.
FC Nantes of France earlier announced that Moses Simon, who scored a winning goal against PSG last weekend, will not be released on account of COVID-19 travel restrictions necessitated by coronavirus, while Girondins-Bordeaux winger, Samuel Kalu suffered a thigh injury same day.
Nantes disclosed in a press release that Simon and other internationals from the club – Kalifa Coulibaly and Charles Traore of Mali) as well as Jean-Charles Caselletto of Cameroon – will not be allowed to leave France for the AFCON qualifiers this month.
Simon’s club stated: “Like several clubs in France, FC Nantes will not release its selected international players for matches outside of Europe during the next international break, scheduled for the end of March.
“In the absence of health guarantees in accordance with the requirements of the French government in force to date, FC Nantes will not be able to release its internationals outside the limits of the European area.
“This decision, based on FIFA circular 1749 of February 5, is justified by the return protocol imposed on travelers who have traveled outside the European Union, who must in particular respect a seven-day isolation.
“The players concerned would also be unable to take part in the match of the 31st day of Ligue 1 Uber Eats, scheduled for Sunday April 4, between FC Nantes and OGC Nice (3 p.m.).”
On their part, the NFF stated: “Following the uncertainty regarding the availability of players based in France (due to COVID 19 laws guiding the country), Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr has extended invitation to KRC Genk striker Paul Onuachu. Henry Onyekuru was earlier called up to replace injured Samuel Kalu.”