Watford have refused to let their talisman Emmanuel Dennis join up with Nigeria at the African Cup of Nations in January 2022 citing that the Super Eagles missed the deadline to call him up. The 24-year-old has been on fire for the hornets this season scoring 8 goals and assisting another 5. He was one of the players the continent was watching out for at the tournament, but he will not be a part of the showpiece.
Earlier this week, Watford head coach Claudio Ranieri said the former Club Brugge man may not be allowed to join up with his national team because the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) did not send his invitation letter on time. “I’m not so sure I will miss him now. I don’t know if he goes. Let’s think about it this week, and then I will tell you. The national team has time to send their pre-call, they don’t respect the days, and I want to see very well. I know the email arrived late, and I want to know everything. The email arrived late to call him. The national team has a time. During this time, they have to send the pre-call. If they don’t send the pre-call, we can choose.”
A statement from the Nigeria Football Federation on Friday morning confirmed Dennis will not be a part of head coach Augustin Eguavoen’s team for the tournament in Cameroon. They said, ‘in-form rapid raider Emmanuel Dennis whose English Premier League club is baring fangs, has been excused.’
They also announced that Victor Osimhen, Abdullahi Shehu, and Leon Balogun will not join up with the team as they are nursing injuries. Osimhen is out with Covid-19 and has not fully recovered from his facial fracture. Henry Onyekuru, Peter Olayinka, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Semi Ajayi have been called up to replace the four players. The Super Eagles start their quest for their fourth AFCON title when they take on the Pharaohs of Egypt on January 11. After the tournament, new head coach Jose Peseiro will take charge of the squad following the dismissal of Gernot Rohr.
New head coach, new interim coach, and some of the best crop of strikers on the continent, yet Odion Ighalo is here. Sigh.
Nigeria’s revised squad for the 33rd AFCON tournament
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Tyrone Ebuehi (Venezia FC, Italy); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Olisa Ndah (Orlando Pirates, South Africa)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Olympiacos FC, Greece); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Praha, Czech Republic.