Super Eagles star, Wilfred Ndidi, 27, has been ruled out of African Cup of Nations (AFCON), signaling a big setback for Nigeria ahead of the tournament.
In a statement on Wednesday, Babafemi Raji, Super Eagles media officer, announced that the Leicester City midfielder will be replaced on the team by Alhassan Yusuf.
Ndidi missed The Foxes’ 4-1 home win over Huddersfield Town on New Year’s Day. Kelechi Iheanacho was also unavailable for the match.
After the match, Enzo Maresca, Leicester City manager, revealed that the duo suffered knocks, but he did not give a stipulated timeline for their injuries or rule them out of AFCON.
Yusuf plays for Royal Antwerp and has been tapped as Ndidi’s replacement. The 23-year-old was included in the Eagles 40-man provisional squad for the competition.
The Super Eagles media officer added that Iheanacho “is still hopeful to join the team” for the tournament in Ivory Coast.
Ndidi joins Taiwo Awoniyi on the list of Eagles players ruled out of AFCON by injury. In November, Awoniyi was ruled out of the tournament due to a groin injury.
In preparation for the AFCON, the Super Eagles are camped in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for a one-week training camp before flying back to Lagos on January 9 and proceeding to Ivory Coast a day later.
The Eagles are in Group A alongside Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
Nigeria will take on Equatorial Guinea in their opening game before facing Ivory Coast and rounding off the group stage with the Guinea-Bissau tie.
The competition kicks off on January 13.