Super Eagles interim Head Coach, Augustine Eguavoen, has defended the non- inclusion of more than one home-based players in his squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Enyimba’s goalkeeper, John Noble, is the only player from the domestic league in Eguavoen’s 28-man squad for the tournament.
“The challenge for us is the little time we have to prepare for the competition. That didn’t give us room to invite more home-based players,” the former defender told a virtual media session yesterday.
“I initially wanted to include four or five players from the NPFL in the team, but there was no way we could do that with the limited time we have to prepare for the competition.
The former Nigerian international stressed that the late Stephen Keshi used five players from the domestic league to win the 2013 edition in South Africa because he had ample time to train with the NPFL players.
“During Keshi’s time, they had enough time to prepare the team. The team spent quality time together and also played friendly games,” recalled Eguavoen fondly called Cerezo in his days with the senior national team.
He however remains optimistic that Saudi Arabia club side Al Shabab was going to release Odion Ighalo to link up with the rest of the squad in Cameroon.
The Eagles will open their 2021 AFCON campaign on Tuesday against seven-time champions Egypt. Sudan and Guinea Bisau are the other teams in Group D with Nigeria.