NIGERIA may not be able to field her British-based players for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde next month next month because of Covid-19 restrictions which place the country on the UK’s red list.
On September 7, the Super Eagles kick off their 2022 World Cup qualification campaign away to Cape Verde but head coach Gernot Rohr is resigned to not being able to use some of his best players to prosecute the game. Cape Verde is on the UK’s red list of countries, meaning that whoever travels there must be quarantined for 10 days upon their return.
With the English and Scottish seasons now in full flow, this is likely to mean that clubsides will refuse to release their players for the game. Players likely to be affected include Alex Iwobi of Everton, Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City, Frank Onyeka of Brentford and the Watford trio of Oghenekaro Etebo, Emmanuel Dennis and William Troost-Ekong.
Scottish champions Glasgow Rangers, may also refuse to release their Nigerian trio of Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey, while Semi Ajayi of English Championship side West Bromwich Albion may miss out too. Already, several Premier League clubs, along with other members of the European Club Association, have revealed they would not release their players to play in the red list countries.
England’s Premier League has been talking to the UK government to exempt players from the compulsory quarantine rules but the two sides could not reach an agreement on the matter. As a result, Liverpool has already told the Egyptian Football Association that it would not release Mohammed Salah for their home clash against Angola on September 2 as Egypt is on the UK’s red list too.
However, Salah could be available for the away clash against Gabon as the country is on the UK’s amber list. Likewise, Super Eagles players in England will be available to play the game against Liberia in Lagos on September 3 but could miss the clash in Cape Verde four days later.