Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has explained why he opted to omit Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho from the national team’s latest squad.
The 22-year-old was not named on the Super Eagles’ 23-man roster for their upcoming games against the Seychelles and Egypt.
Nigeria will host the island minnows for their final 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier (in a dead rubber, as the Super Eagles have already secured their place at the tournament, while the Seychelles cannot qualify) on March 22 before taking on Egypt four days later in a friendly.
Both matches will be held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, Delta State.
Iheanacho’s omission is simply down to a lack of playing time. The Nigerian has featured in 25 Premier League matches this season, but the majority of his appearances have been as a substitute.
In fact, Iheanacho has played in just 56 minutes of league football since the turn of the year.
“Kelechi needs to play with his club. He also needs to take advantage of the international break to show his qualities to his new coach,” said Rohr, in reference to arrival of Brendan Rodgers at Leicester.
The German added that Iheanacho needs to start racking up more regular minutes, or he will be in danger of missing out on the continental finals in Egypt.
“I give him time but there is a danger for the AFCON for those who do not play regularly in their club. The final list for the AFCON is far from being made for anyone,” explained Rohr.