Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro has shed light on the situation surrounding Kelechi Iheanacho, the Leicester City forward who has yet to make an appearance for the Nigerian team at the ongoing 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
Despite being doubtful for the tournament due to a muscle injury, Iheanacho joined the team in Ivory Coast after missing the camp in Abu Dhabi for his recovery in England.
However, he has remained an unused substitute in the matches played so far.
Coach Peseiro addressed the issue, stating that Iheanacho’s value and capabilities are well recognized, but emphasized that other players have also not had playing time.
He explained that Iheanacho arrived without participating in collective practice, as Leicester called him back and then sent him to the tournament.
Peseiro mentioned that if the need arose for a goal, Iheanacho could have been brought in, but the coach’s focus was on protecting the team’s goal.
The coach also highlighted that other players, such as Ahmed Musa and Joe Aribo, have also not had consistent playing time.
Iheanacho, with 47 appearances and 13 goals for the Super Eagles since his debut in 2015, is one of the team’s most experienced players.
This is his second Africa Cup of Nations tournament, having previously featured in the 2022 edition.
Nigeria, three-time champions of the AFCON, is aiming to secure a fourth title in Ivory Coast.
Looking ahead, Nigeria is set to face Angola in the quarter-finals of the tournament at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Friday at 6 p.m. Nigerian time.
It remains to be seen if Iheanacho will have the opportunity to showcase his skills and contribute to Nigeria’s quest for another AFCON triumph.
This article was updated 1 month ago