Odion Ighalo has been ruled out of AFCON 2021in Cameroon, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed.
In a statement released by the football ruling body on Thursday, January 6, the NFF said the former Manchester United striker will play no part at the 33rd edition of the African football showpiece.
“Forward Odion Ighalo is no longer expected as a result of issues with his Saudi Arabian club,” part of the statement read.
With Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Genk’s Paul Onuachu already ruled out of the competition, Ighalo was expected to lead the Super Eagles forward line up.
Reports say Ighalo was not released by his Saudi Arabia club Al Shabab due to his contract clauses.
Before joining the White Lion from Shanghai Shenhua in 2021, the 2019 Afcon top scorer signed a clause that he would not be involved in international duties meaning he won’t play for his country.
Ighalo had announced his retirement from the Nigeria national team, however, he was recalled by Gernot Rohr as the German moved to solve the Super Eagles’ worrisome attacking line.
Nigeria has been placed in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau. Austin Eguavoen’s men will begin on January 11 against the Pharaohs at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.
Four days later, they will play the Falcons of Jediane before squaring up against the Djurtus on January 19 in Garoua.