Trabzonspor of Turkey midfielder Ogenyi Onazi has been ruled out of Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya in Uyo.
Onazi, 25 has been a regular feature in the Super Eagles squad for the past five years, but saw no minute at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia where he was left on the substitute bench for Nigeria’s three group matches.
The former Under-17 and Under-20 star was among the twenty four players invited for the upcoming double header contest against Libya’s Mediterranean Knights but the battling midfielder was conspicuously missing from the team’s last training session on Friday evening.
According to a team official, Onazi is struggling with an undisclosed injury but www.aclsports.com further scooped that his absence from training may not be unconnected to the fact that head coach Gernot Rohr has elected to use younger players for Saturday’s game.
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Onazi started Nigeria’s last game, a 3-0 win at Seychelles last month but was substituted in the second half for Stoke City midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo.
With Onazi confirmed out of Saturday’s game, the team is now expected to line out in a 4-2-3-1 shape with Etebo partnering with Wilfred Ndidi in the double pivot role while as we reported yesterday, Alex Iwobi is favoured to start behind the centre forward.
Nigeria will face Libya in their third Group E game, starting from 4pm local time at the Nest of Champions in Uyo on Saturday. The Super Eagles are currently third behind South Africa and Saturday’s opponents and need nothing but a victory in the encounter.
Fisayo Dairo reporting from Uyo