JOE Aribo looks set to miss Nigeria’s friendlies against Ivory Coast and Tunisia next month after Glasgow Rangers declared that he will be missing in action for between four and six weeks as a result of a nagging ankle injury.
Aribo, 24, has been a revelation for both club and country over the last year, dominating the midfield and scoring vital goals. His box-to-box runs have made him one of the first names on the team set, both for Glasgow Rangers and the Super Eagles but over the last two weeks, he has been out of action.
Since the beginning of September, Aribo has not played, having missed Rangers’ last two games against Kilmarnock and Hamilton. Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, has now revealed that the injury is worse than initially reported, so the midfielder will be sidelined for at least another month.
As part of the Super Eagles’ preparations for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Nigeria will take on Ivory Coast in Austria on October 9 and then four days later will face the Tunisia. It now appears that Aribo will miss both games as Super Eagles head coach Gernot is poised to name his squad over the next week.
Mr Gerrard said: “Joe Aribo has had a setback in terms of his return to training as he’s got an ankle strain at the moment and he’ll be missing for four to six weeks. In terms of Joe, it’s a big blow as during pre-season and the start of the season, was in magnificent form.
“He’s a player we rate very highly here and I’m sure he’ll be missed over the next four weeks. It’s actually good news for us because when he had the setback in the training, there was a situation where he had to go and see a specialist on his ankle problem and there was a chance he might have needed surgery.
“Thankfully he doesn’t need surgery and we might be able to get him back in four weeks time so it’s actually a positive situation because it could have been a lot worse. However, he’s definitely going to be a blow for us because he’s a fantastic player and a major talent and a major part of how we play so it’s certainly a blow.”
Aribo has started the last four matches played by the Super Eagles and got on the scoresheet against Ukraine and Brazil, finding the back of the net in each game. Mr Rohr will now have to find a suitable replacement in midfield for the two friendlies next month, with Kelechi Nwakali of La Liga side Huesca the most likely candidate to fill the void.