By Oluwole Francis
Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr is in a fix over how to raise a squad for this weekend’s international friendly match against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Austria.
Majority of the key players have withdrawn from the match owing to the wear and tear of the just concluded season in Europe and are pleading for time out.
Because the withdrawals came so late in the day, there is no chance of getting players from Nigeria’s domestic league to compensate for the personnel deficits, as they would require at least 10 days to secure entry visas.
The situation has left Rohr concerned about the fate of the June 4 warm up match as he is facing the race to raise a team against Cameroon.
“I don’t know if they can cancel, I only know that I have maximum 18 players. If the players from England, William (Troost-Ekong), Kelechi, Ndidi and Iwobi can come, then maybe we play but I have no substitutes and there is no chance to get other players.
“I think they make this friendly in Austria to give us a good condition for preparation, but I see that it is difficult to motivate the players to come to Europe because some of the players are in Nigeria already. And they have to come back to Europe to play.
It was gathered that the key players who have withdrawn from the high profile match cited injuries as well as lack of payment of match bonuses.
The German initially selected a strong, plus-sized 31-man squad in mid-May, but whittled down that to a more manageable 23 barely two weeks later. However, that number has been dwindling over the last few days, leaving Rohr scrambling to find replacements in time for the game.
Key players like Victor Osimhen, Ola Aina, Simy Nwankwo and others have told the Super Eagles handler they cannot make it.
“Ola Aina told me yesterday that his ankle is painful and he cannot make it and the club physio said he cannot play. Then we have (Kevin) Akpoguma, we knew already he is injured and cannot play.
“Victor Osimhen is injured. He sent us an attestation. The meniscus in his knee is painful.
“(Zaidu) Sanusi is injured. He was in Paris to see a doctor, for surgery perhaps but not for the moment. (Tyronne) Ebuehi sent us a message with a medical attestation that he cannot make it. And Semi Ajayi also says he has problems with his back and the Physio says he needs two weeks of rest.