The Super Eagles of Nigeria have replaced injured striker Odion Ighalo with Galatasaray forward Henry Onyekuru for the upcoming 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa and friendly against Uganda later this month.
Changchun Yatai striker Ighalo is the leading scorer in the Africa Cup qualifiers with six goals – including five in the doubleheader against Libya.
But a hamstring injury has sidelined him for five weeks, allowing Onyekuru to come off the standby list to take his place in the Eagles squad, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said Thursday.
NFF spokesman Toyin Ibitoye said he expects the players who will replace key absentees like Ighalo, Shehu Abdullahi, Francis Uzoho and Wilfred Ndidi to rise to the occasion.
“It’s a massive blow to be without a player who has scored six goals in the last three matches for the Eagles,” Ibitoye said.
“So it’s a big challenge to fill this role, but we have a lot of options in this regard and it is left for the other players to rise to the occasion.
“Other players need to prove themselves worthy to the coaches and Nigerians that they can do it.”
Group E leaders Nigeria take on second-placed South Africa on November 17 in at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, before an international friendly against the Cranes of Uganda in Asaba three days later.