The camp of the Dream Team VII have been depleted following news that the team’s captain Azubuike Okechukwu will not be part of the competition as the Olympic Eagles hope to retain the trophy they won four years ago in Senegal, AOIFootball.com reports.
Speaking exclusively to AOIFootball.com, the Istanbul Basaksehir midfielder confirmed his unavailability, stating that his club would not release him as the competition doesn’t fall within the international FIFA calendar.
“I don’t think they will be a chance for me to play in the competition because you know it doesn’t fall into the FIFA window. The club have informed me I won’t be able to partake and I have also told the coaches of their decision,” Azubuike stated.
He, however, revealed that the other players can do the country proud in Egypt as it will give them a big opportunity to prove to the world of the enormous talents and potentials Nigeria possesses.
The news will, however, come as a big blow to Head Coach Imama Amapakabo as the midfielder a key component of the squad that reached the main tournament following wins over Libya and Sudan in the qualifiers.
It will be recalled that the 22-year-old was at the forefront for Nigeria four years ago in Senegal as he captained the Dream Team VI to their maiden AFCON U-23 win after defeating Algeria 2-1 in the final.
Nigeria will join host country Egypt, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Zambia for this year’s competition.
The draws will take place in Egypt on the 3rd of October.
Copyright 2017 AOIFootball. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.AOIFootball.com as the source.