Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, has admitted that it was a tough call excluding Kelechi Iheanacho and Semi Ajayi from his final 23-man squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Both players were conspicuously missing during the Eagles recovery training Sunday morning at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.
The German also noted that the pair were still part of his team despite being overlooked for the AFCON tournament.
“It was not the match against Zimbabwe that helped in our decision to drop the two players,” he told the media shortly before the team’s departure to Ismailia.
“We already had our opinion before the match because we observed them throughout the season and we saw what they did.
“We had seven training sessions to see the fitness, confidence of the players. Normally in a match, you cannot bring so many strikers. We played with a lot of offensive players.
“We played with seven strikers, all the strikers who deserved to play. We started with three strikers, the others came in. We have (Samuel) Chukwueze, (Samuel) Kalu, Henry (Onyekuru), (Victor) Osimhen, Paul (Onuachu), (Moses) Simon also. The choice of dropping two players is really difficult for me.
“I can’t take every one of you (players) to the AFCON. All the players showed good character, good mentality throughout this week, but we just must drop two players. It’s so unfortunate and a difficult moment for Iheanacho and Ajayi missing out but they are still part of the team.”