Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr has admitted that Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho was not fit enough to start Nigeria’s crucial World Cup clash with Argentina.
Iheanacho visibly struggled in the first half of Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat and was substituted at half time.
The 21-year-old, who finished the season strongly with City, will be assessed by the club’s medical staff, although he is not due to return to training for several weeks as the players on World Cup duty are given additional time off.
Rohr also revealed that he had planned to take off Ahmed Musa, who had given the Super Eagles a chance of progressing from the group stage with his two goals against Iceland, but he had refused.
“If I had seen what happened in the first half, perhaps I would not have started with the same team because one of my players was not really fit and he went out half-time,” Rohr said. “But you never can know.
“its possible one player in the starting 11 is not fit, we have to accept that and make the change.
“’I wanted to bring out Ahmed Musa but he said he wanted to stay and was fit to finish the match, we were waiting for the end of the match to make two other changes, everybody did well, nobody had to go out.”
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles manager has lashes out at Turkish referee Cüneyt Cakır not to award a penalty to his team after a handball by Argentina defender, Marcos Rojo.
“I believe that it was handball, I didn’t see the video, it is difficult to decide for the referee and make a good interpretation of the VAR, it is not easy.
My team gave away two penalties, today we had one, I was happy about it, unfortunately it was not enough.”
Rohr has refused to criticize Brian Idowu for his performance, and explained that he named the Russian-based defender in the starting XI ahead of Tyronne Ebuehi because of his defensive qualities.