GvB confirms Rangers’ Super Eagles stars will arrive late for Cameroon 2021

The continent’s biggest football fiesta begins on the ninth day of the new year, but at least three Nigerian internationals may not arrive on time due to club commitments

Rangers manager, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, has revealed that the club will hold on to their African players until after their crucial Premiership clash against title rivals Celtic on 2 January.

Nigerian stars Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey play for the Gers. All three are likely to be in the final Super Eagles squad to participate at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The continental championship commences on January 9, but Nigeria’s first game against Egypt kicks off two days later.

Aribo, one of the best midfielders in the Scottish top-flight, has been a regular for club and country since his debut and is expected to be an integral member of the Super Eagles’ team in Cameroon.

Defender Balogun is still out injured and has missed Rangers’ last seven matches, but he is one of the Eagles’ most experienced stars. The former Mainz centre-back featured for Nigeria at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 Afcon in Egypt.

Leicester City academy product Bassey is yet to make his international debut. Still, he earned his first call-up in October and has expressed his desire to play at the Afcon like his role model Austin Okocha.

Super Eagles interim manager Augustine Eguavoen already confirmed, in a chat with Soccernet.ng, that the Nigerian camp for the continental championship will be open by the end of December.

But league leaders Rangers face second-place Celtic in the Old Firm derby on January 2, with only four points between the two eternal rivals.

Aribo and Bassey have featured in every game since van Bronckhorst took over from Steven Gerrard, and both would be crucial to the Gers picking up a positive result against the Celts.

And the Dutch-born manager does not doubt that the club’s African imports would still be in Glasgow by the New Year.

“Any players representing at the Africa Cup of Nations will be here for the Old Firm match before being released,” van Bronckhorst said, as per Football Scotland.

There were initial fears that the Afcon could be cancelled due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and pressure from European clubs.

But CAF insists that the Afcon will continue as scheduled as the football body and hosts Cameroon are putting everything in place to ensure a successful event.

Nigeria are three-time Afcon kings, having won the competition in 1980, 1994, and 2013.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Mobile Category