AFCON 2019 QUALIFIER
Odion Ighalo’s injury Wednesday may be a major source of worry for Super Eagles handlers as Nigeria push ahead for the last Group E AFCON 2019 qualifying clash with South Africa on November 17.
The Changchun Yatai forward in the Chinese Super League is the leading goal scorer in Nigeria’s bid to return to the summit of African football after missing two editions back-to-back. He was stretchered off the pitch Wednesday in his club’s last home league game of the season.
Ighalo was forced out after just 17 minutes and it is now left to be seen how severe the injury is and whether he will be fit in time for the trip to Johannesburg to confront the Bafana Bafana in a grudge game.
The South Africans had handed a 2-0 defeat to the Eagles in Nigeria’s first match of the AFCON 2019 series at the Nest of Champions in Uyo. But Ighalo’s five-goals in the back-to-back clash with Libya and Seychelles has sort of restored the pride of the former Watford hit-man.
Apart from Ighalo, Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr, has another worry in his hands as his favourite Nigerian goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho is not going to be available for selection in the clash with South Africa.
Uzoho has already been ruled out of the clash after he was injured in action for his Spanish club Elche CF.
Scan showed yesterday that Uzoho suffered a “seventh grade fracture” after a league clash at Cadiz.
Interestingly, South Africa is equally having similar injury woes to some of its top players ahead of the clash with Nigeria.
Several of their top stars remain doubtful for the clash due to fitness concerns. France-based duo, Bongani Zungu and Keagan Dolly, as well as home-based stars; Dean Furman, Bradley Grobler and Sibusiso Vilakazi are all doubtful for the Bafana game due to injuries
Kamohelo Mokotjo, who plays for English Championship club, Brentford has already been ruled out of the all-important clash against the Super Eagles after he sustained the injury in Brentford’s penultimate league clash against Norwich City which they lost 1-0. He was substituted after 30 minutes in the game.
Mokotjo had started and completed Bafana Bafana’s last three qualifiers including the recent back-to-back clashes with Seychelles, and the goalless draw with Libya in September.