The friendly match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon scheduled for June 4 in Austria is in doubt due to multiple withdrawals by the players.
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr scaled down a 31-man squad to 23 last week but is facing the serious task of keeping the number above 18 which will be needed for the match having seen about 10 withdrawals.
Rohr confirmed to ESPN that the following areas ha2 withdrawn; Kenneth Omeruo, Sadiq Umar and Moses Simon all withdrew due to club engagements while Victor Osimhen, Simy Nwankwo, Ola Aina, Kevin Akpoguma, Zaidu Sanusi, Tyrone Ebuehi, Semi Ajayi have all withdrawn due to injuries.
“We had nine defenders on the list. Six now are out.They said they had some injuries and the doctors from the clubs said they need to rest because they have some pains. So we got some medical attestations from the teams,” Rohr told ESPN.
Due to the lateness of the withdrawal, Rohr couldn’t turn to the home based players to replace the absentees because it will take about 10days for visa processing. The players he approached in Europe also had one reason or the other not to be available.
“I invited the player Tijani from Salzburg who told me that he was injured in training yesterday… hamstring. And Frank Onyeka from Midtjylland, I called him but he cannot come either,” Rohr said.
Though the official reason for most of the withdrawals were medical, according to ESPN, an unidentified player has alleged that outstanding debts from the NFF have played a big part in their unwillingness to risk further injury.
“The players are not happy,” the player told ESPN. “They have not paid bonuses and allowances, nothing at all for the entire  AFCON qualifiers.
“We have sacrificed by playing throughout the qualifiers without being paid. I think now, with all the injuries, it is hard for many of us to make the sacrifice to come and play a meaningless friendly when the outstanding bonuses have not been paid.
“It is better for us to stay away, recover properly, rest and get ready for the new season and the World Cup qualifiers.”
Getnot Rohr remains unsure of whether the game will go ahead or not; “I don’t know if they can cancel, I only know that I have a maximum of 18 players… then maybe we play but I have no substitutes and there is no chance to get other players… My problem now is that I hope that we will have 18 players to arrive.”
Image credit; Samuel Shivambu/Backpage Pix
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