Rabiu Ibrahim and three other players have been dropped from the Super Eagles’ camp by Coach Stephen Keshi, as the squad intensify training for the African Cup of Nations, which kicks off on 19 January in South Africa.
The other players axed are Kano Pillars’ defender Papa Idris, Henry Uche of Enyimba and Turkey-based striker, Uche Kalu, who is injured.
Eagles’ spokesman, Ben Alaiya, announced that the affected players were due to depart the team’s camp in Faro, Portugal today, while four other players will be dropped tomorrow to give Nigeria a final 23-man squad for the Nations Cup.
Keshi, it was gathered, made the announcement after dinner yesterday and the players took it in good faith.
“Everything is good in camp, all the players are in high spirits. The four players dropped took it in good faith because of the way the coach did it,” Alaiya said.
“The way Keshi broke the news to the players was superb, he called the players affected aside after dinner, talked to them and told them they won’t be going to the Nations Cup, but could still make it another time.
“We have 27 players in camp now and four more will be dropped tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Of the dropped players, the team official said Ibrahim’s late arrival and inactivity with former Scottish club Celtic may have worked against the former U-17 and U-20 star.
“Rabiu was outstanding and was a true replica of ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha if you see him in training, the look, the style of play, but there are better players in the midfield, so he has to go for now,” Alaiya said in a press release.
Rabiu Ibrahim, who was dropped from the Nigerian camp in Faro, Portugal last night
“Henry Uche has a future in the team, while I feel sorry for Uche Kalu as he was involved in all the qualifiers, but an injury knocked him out.”
Meanwhile, some of the home-based players that could make the Nations Cup final list are: former Warii Wolves goalkeeper, Chigozie Agbim now with Rangers of Enugu, who was spectacular during an international friendly match against Catalonia last week, Rangers of Enugu striker, Ejike Uzoenyi and Sunshine Stars of Akure skipper, Godfrey Oboabona.