Nigerian National football team manager Gernot Rohr finally released his provisional list for the upcoming FIFA world cup in Russia yesterday
The list revealed the extent of trust Rohr has in his regular foot soldiers as it contained very little surprises save for the Inclusion of NPFL hitman Junior Lokosa and new Crotone of Italy sensation Simy Nwankwo
But asides the new Inclusions there are 3 players who most Nigerian soccer fans will see as the most Notable absentees from the list
Without a doubt Nigerias most exciting and deadly forward last season.
While he was never a regular Onyekuru seemed a sure bet to break into the team based on his antecedents in Europe alone
He continued the new season now on loan at Anderlecht where he left off banging in goals and being a menace to defenders . . .until that unfortunate injury back in December
A young man with a heart of a Lion Onyekuru refused to be deterred an vowed to recover in time to make the world cup team and amazingly recovered in time to rejoin the Anderlecht squad before the season ended
“I have to prove that I’m able and worthy to go and play. Once I do that, it’s up to the manager to select the team,” Onyekuru told BBC Sport.
However his best efforts still came too late as although he made matchday squads he was not deemed fit enough and was left out by Rohr
For the player who had already bagged 10 goals in 27 games before his injury it will be a big disappointment both for him and for his throng of fans both in Nigeria and all around the world and for the Super eagles they might just have missed out on some extra firepower
The Al Ahyl of Egypt striker was believed to have forced his way into contention as a contender for the Super Eagles’ pre-world cup selection after a remarkable season with the Egyptian champions
The 22 year old joined the Egyptian giants from Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien, Ajayi and helped them win the league, Cup and Super Cup as well as secure a second place finish in the CAF Champions League.
He scored eight goals and weighed in with nine assists from 23 games as Ahly eventually clinched their second consecutive title and those exploits eventually caught the eye of the Nigerian football authorities and the German tactician who invited him for the friendly games against Poland and Serbia.
Ajayi would eventually miss the game against Poland owing to visa hitches but came on as a late sub for Alex Iwobi in the game against Serbia and wasn’t given enough time to show his stuff
Ajayi was also reported to have put himself about in training with the eagles and would have expected that would have been enough for the team handlers to grant him a place at least on the provisional list