By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Benin Republic failed to announce their squad to take on Nigeria yesterday as previously announced as most of their players have been refused permission to travel home for the ultimate clash with Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The all important qualifier has been scheduled to hold on March 27 in Port Novo.
But yesterday, the Squirrels’ French Head Coach, Michel Dussuyer announced his frustration that he was unable to pick the team to confront leaders Nigeria because most of the European clubs where these Benin players ply their trades have been denied permission to travel home for the game.
Dussuyer had earlier planned to unfold the list yesterday at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Sports in Cotonou.
He complained that several of his players, especially those in France were told that they would not be released for both the home match with Nigeria and the away encounter with Sierra Leone.
He remarked that several of the players were obliged to observe a period of quarantine.
Dussuyer lamented that he was helpless as an earlier circular last year by FIFA which gave the clubs the option of refusal to release the player, was still operational.
Although Nigeria’s Coach, Gernot Rohr earlier sent out his team list of 24 players for the double header against Benin and Lesotho, there are doubts that most of the players on that list are now doubtful as majority of them in England and other European leagues need to quarantine for average of 10 days on return to their clubs before they can be part of their team squads.
“We are not sure of getting full complement of our players for the last two AFCON 2022 qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho due to the stringent Covid-19 policy in place in most European cities. It is even worse in England where at least five of our players are coming from,” observed a top football official at the weekend to THISDAY.
Most of the European clubs are holding on to their players because of FIFA’s rule that relaxed the conditions for releasing players for national duties due to the Covid-19 pandemic.