From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Super Eagles striker Kelechi Iheanacho has been embargoed by coach Pep Guardiola from training with the Manchester City first team until he reduces his weight to an approved threshold.
Reports out of England yesterday said that some of City’s top players on pre season tour of China were outlawed by Guadiola from the first team because of they were not fit.
According to the BBC, Guardiola gave order to the players to avoid pizza, some juice and certain “heavy food”.
“They are not overweight, but I want my players fit,” said the new City boss.
“The weight is so important. When you are not fit, danger is coming. You’re not fast enough or quick enough in the head. That’s why you need to be fit.” Guardiola said.
Man City will meet Borussia Dortmund Thursday in the International Champions Cup in Shenzhen, China.
It is understood that former Nigerian junior international Iheanacho is one of the players whose fitness Guardiola has questioned.
The player, who impressed under former coach Manuel Pellegrini, scoring 14 goals in all competitions last season, weighs 79kg which the coach considers to be excessive for a professional footballer and should be reduced.
French defender Gael Clichy says he is fully behind Guardiola’s approach.
“For my part, it’s the first time any manager has really done it,” added the 31-year-old. “And we have a few players who are not training with the team yet.
“If your weight is too high, you’re not training with the team. You have to know that if your weight is 60 kilos and you are on 70 kilos, then you cannot play football.
“Some people think that’s normal but, in truth, it’s not always like this. I know because I’ve been playing football for a long time. It’s really refreshing and very exciting,” Clichy said.
It would be recalled that Guardiola, who left Bayern Munich at the end of last season, initially left out Iheanacho from Man City’s squad of 32 players that left for China on July 19 for reasons that were not specified.