By Francis Ajuonuma Lagos with agency report
Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Rotherham United central defender Semi Ajayi will not be part of the Super Eagles party at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) set to kick off on June 21.
Although both players made the initial 25-man provisional list that were called up for the training camp in Asaba, Delta State, they were however excluded from the final list of the 23 -man squad announced yesterday by the Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr for the biggest African soccer fiesta in Egypt.
John Obi Mikel, Alex Iwobi, Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and eighteen other players were in the plane that jetted to Ismailia yesterday afternoon.
Others, who made the team include, Ikechukwu Ezenwa , Daniel Akpeyi, Abdullahi Shehu, Chidozie Awaziem, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Jamilu Collins and Wilfred Ndidi.
Also on the AFCON 2019 party are, Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu, Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Henry Onyekuru, Odion Ighalo, Samuel Kalu, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Chukwueze.
However, Rohr explained that the decision to axe Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi was taken before Saturday’s friendly against Zimbabwe.
According to the German he had been monitoring the performance of the players in their respective clubs before they arrived Asaba and need not to use the one friendly against Zimbabwe to rate the players
”You cannot judge from one game in these conditions. We already have our opinion before the match because we observed them throughout the season and we saw what they did and also all week in the training sessions,” Rohr said post-match.
”We had seven training sessions to see the fitness, confidence of the players. It’s not this match alone that will give us a decision on the two players we have to drop.”
As many as seven players classed as offensive players were given a run-out against Zimbabwe, but Rohr has stressed that won’t be the case at the Africa Cup of Nations.
”You see that we played with seven strikers, all the strikers who deserve to play. We started with 3 strikers, the others came in.
”Normally in a match you cannot bring so many strikers. We played with a lot of offensive players.
”We have Chukwueze, Kalu, Henry, Osimhen, Paul, Simon also. The choice of dropping two players is really difficult for me,”Rohr added.