Head Coach Imama Amapakabo will have to do without inspirational skipper, Azubuike Okechukwu when his team faces Cote D’Ivoire in their opening game on Saturday after the midfielder confirmed he won’t be available due to club engagement, can authoritatively confirm. 

The 22-year-old was hopeful of reaching an agreement with Istanbul Basaksehir over his availability for Nigeria’s opening game of the Africa U-23 Championship, but with tough upcoming club engagement against Wolfsberger in the Europa League and a league tie at home to Ankaragucu next week, the midfielder will now join the squad during the international break which begins between 11 and November. 

The former Bayelsa United midfielder will, however, feature in Nigeria’s second game against Zambia on the 12th as well as the final group game against South Africa, three days later. 


Azubuike has been an integral part of Istanbul this season, featuring in 8 of their 10 league games and has also featured in all 3 of their Europa League clashes this season.