Former Nigeria internationals, Joe Erico and Adelabu Adegoke, believe that the absence of defenders Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo from the Super Eagles squad will not affect their chances of getting a win when Nigeria play the Pharaohs of Egypt in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Nigeria will host Egypt in the first leg of the two-legged qualifier on Friday in Kaduna before heading to Alexandria for the second leg on March 29. The Eagles need a positive result to stand a chance of qualifying for the tournament, which they missed in 2015.

Omeruo was the first to be ruled out of the tie after copping an injury at his club, Kasimpasa, while Balogun was on Saturday declared injured by his club, FSV Mainz, ahead of the international break.

However, the former internationals told our correspondent that the two players would not be missed by the team as the coach has other players in the team to win the match.

“Beating Egypt in Kaduna is a task that the Eagles need to achieve to stand a better chance in Alexandria. I believe the team is strong enough to do without the injured players for the match,” Erico said.

“It is a good thing that the coaches are aware beforehand that they are injured and not a situation where they will hide their injuries and go ahead to play and they will not be able to give their best in the match.

“The coach might have dropped most of the home-based players but he will still be able to call them back if he sees that the injured defenders need replacements.”

Adegoke said, “Balogun is a good defender and it is painful to hear that he will be out of the Egypt tie. He has a good confidence level and is calm at the back. Omeruo is also trying to relaunch his national team career after a long time out but he is also injured.”


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