Oghenekaro Peter Etebo has not been included in Nigeria final 28-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations because his Premier League club Watford want him to focus on his rehabilitation from injury.
The Stoke City loanee, 26, moved to Vicarage Road in July and made six appearances in the Premier League before a thigh injury in September curtailed his impressive start to life with the Hornets.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and interim coach Austin Eguavoen had hoped to include the experienced Etebo in his squad even if he was not fit enough to play in all the Super Eagles matches.
However, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who had been a doubt for the tournament after picking up a serious facial injury in November, is included after declaring himself fit to play in Cameroon.
Osimhen underwent surgery on his cheekbone and eye socket on 23 November, having sustained fractures in the 3-2 defeat by Inter Milan two days earlier.
Despite not playing since his return to training wearing a protective mask and Napoli wanting to keep him away from the continental showpiece , Nigeria expect him to play a big role in the finals that kick-off on 9 January.
“We expect Victor [Osimhen] to join up with the rest of the squad at least by 3 of January,” NFF director of communications, Ademola Olajire, told BBC Sport Africa.
“It is unnecessary to react to every report in the media about our players availability or potential non-availability for the tournament.
“But the NFF is confident that our players including Osimhen understands the country’s desire for a fourth continental title. It is important to have all our players show same commitment and ambitious traits as displayed by Osimhen.”
Need a VPN? Or seeking to switch? Then support Tribal Football by clicking here to sign up with our official partners NordVPN. Not only will you receive the best VPN experience, but also great discounts by signing up via Tribal Football. Thanks for your support!