Trabzonspor midfielder Eddy Onazi has been omitted from Nigeria’s squad for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa due to concerns over his fitness.
This is according to Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr, who on Tuesday named a 23-man squad for the match against Bafana Bafana and a friendly with Uganda.
Onazi withdrew from Nigeria’s squad for their back-to-back qualifiers against Libya in early to mid-October, only to be given a clean bill of health when he returned to his Turkish Super Lig.
He has since featured in two matches for Trabzonspor, playing 45 minutes of their goalless draw with Erzurum on October 22 and the full 90 of their 1-1 draw with Antalyaspor this past weekend.
The 25-year-old defensive midfielder was excellent in the latter match, leading to serious questions by Nigeria fans as to why he has been left off Rohr’s list.
And the German had the following to say in response: ''Onazi had a problem with injury. He left Uyo before the match against Libya [earlier this month].
"I have to be aware of the health of our players. We didn't want to do injections on Achilles tendons before the games."
Onazi’s absence leaves Nigeria with just three central midfielders for their upcoming matches: Oghenekaro Etebo, John Ogu and Mikel Agu. Wilfred Ndidi is absent as he is suspended for the AFCON match after picking up a second yellow card of the group stage in the 3-2 win over Libya in Sfax.