The Super Eagles’ Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi, on Friday ruled team captain Joseph Yobo out of the three 2014 World Cup and 2013 African Nations Cup qualifiers in June.
Keshi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the medical staff of Fenerbahce, Yobo’s Turkish League club, informed him of the player’s situation on Friday morning.
It is an unfortunate situation which we have since yesterday (Thursday) been hoping will not come to be. But that’s the way it is, and we just have to take it the way it has come,” Keshi said.
NAN reports that the coach had, while unveiling the 11-man list of overseas-based players he picked for the matches on Thursday, expressed hopes of having the player for the three matches.
Keshi had confirmed that Yobo truly had a muscle strain, adding that the team’s skipper told him (Keshi) of the injury after he had called to ask about it.
The coach also named three players as likely replacement for the injured Super Eagles’ captain.
They are Gege Soriola, Geofrey Oboabona and Papa Idris.
It is quite painful not having my captain for these matches, but there is no cause for alarm, as there are capable replacements.
Soriola has been in splendid form for Free State Stars in the South African league in recent weeks.
Oboabona plays in central defence regularly for Sunshine Stars, even though we use him in the Eagles as a full back, and he can easily revert to that.
We also have Kano Pillars’ Papa Idris, who has been in excellent form for club and country.
Therefore, we must not panic, as we have the players to hold down the position until Yobo returns,” the former Super Eagles skipper said.
NAN reports however that Idris may not be available for usage for now, as he and Barnabas Imenger are on the injured list ahead of the team’s May 23 friendly against Peru in Lima.
The duo of Idris and Imenger are part of the 25 players presently in the team’s camp for the friendly, with 17 of them to depart for Lima on Saturday.
The Eagles will return from Lima on May 26 to face three qualifiers in both the 2014 World Cup and 2013 African Nations Cup qualifying competitions.
The team face Namibia in Calabar on June 3 in a 2014 World Cup qualifier, and then Malawi in Blantyre on June 9.
The Eagles will then return to Calabar on June 17 to host Rwanda in a 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier second round second leg encounter