Paul Onuachu has been called up by the Super Eagles for their games against the Squirrels of Benin Republic and the Crocodiles of Lesotho.
The Nigerian Senior Men’s team will play the Squirrels at Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on March 27, 2021 before taking on the Crocodiles three days later at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
Initially, Onuachu was surprisingly left out of Nigeria’s 24-man squad that was released earlier this month, with the player being included the standby list despite his amazing form spectacular for Genk this season.
The 26 year old has scored a mouth watering 27 goals across all competitions for the Belgian Super League side, which includes a goal he scored against Anderlecht in Sunday’s Belgian Cup tie.
When the first list was released earlier in the month, Fans took to social media to blast Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr for placing the striker on the standby list.
The inclusion of the lanky forward was due to the fact that players like Moses Simon and other Nigeria stars in France were set to miss the tie due to the country’s strict Covid-19 protocols.
A statement from the NFF media channel explained:
“Following the uncertainty regarding the availability of players based in France [due to COVID 19 laws guiding the country], Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr has extended an invitation to KRC Genk striker Paul Onuachu. Henry Onyekuru was earlier called up to replace injured Samuel Kalu”.
According to GOAL.com, Nantes have already made it clear that they will not be realising any of their players for international duties if the game is outside the European territory.
The club stated in their website that;
“Like several clubs in France, FC Nantes will not release its selected international players for matches outside the European area during the next international break scheduled for the end of March,
“In the absence of health guarantees in accordance with the requirements of the French government in force to date, FC Nantes will not be able to release its internationals outside the limits of the European space.
“This decision, based on FIFA circular 1749 of February 5, is justified by the return protocol imposed on travellers who have travelled outside the European Union, who must in particular respect a seven-day isolation.
“The players concerned would also be unable to take part in the match of the 31st day of Ligue 1 Uber Eats, scheduled for Sunday, April 4, between FC Nantes and OGC Nice [3 p.m.].”
Nigeria are in Group L of the AFCON qualifiers and they lead the group with eight points which means a victory over Benin or Lesotho will ensure their place at the biennial tournament, hosted by Cameroon in 2022.