Eguavoen reveals the fitness status of Awaziem

Awaziem

Eguavoen revealed that the defender is not match-ready yet.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria have had a smooth run at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. After two matches, the team has qualified for the round of 16 by topping its group. They beat the Pharaohs of Egypt 1-0 and Sudan 3-1 to achieve the feat and now chase a third group-stage victory for only the second time in their history.

There have been rumours making the rounds that in the last game against Guinea-Bissau that coach Augustine Eguavoen would use the fringe players. Augustine Eguavoen, working in an interim capacity, has not debunked the rumours, suggesting that the lineup would witness some changes.

Of the 26 players that make up the team, 16 have tasted action in Cameroon. Henry Onyekuru, Frank Onyeka, Olisa Ndah, Tyronne Ebuehi, Francis Uzoho, Daniel Akpeyi, Jamilu Collins, Francis Uzoho, John Noble and Chidozie Awaziem are yet to see one minute of action. Perhaps, it is an opportunity to see how deep the Super Eagles depth is.

Of all the players mentioned, there seem to be question marks over the availability of one of them. Chidozie Awaziem has not appeared in any of the matchday squads, fueling rumours of an injury. In a pre-match press conference, Augustine Eguavoen gave updates on the defender.

Awaziem not fit

When the Super Eagles camp opened in Abuja last year, Chidozie Awaziem was one of the last players to arrive at the Super Eagles Abuja camp. The Alanyaspor defender was part of the daily training set up by coach Augustine Eguavoen. On day 2 of the open training session at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, Awaziem trained separately, suggesting there were problems with his health.

In Cameroon, Awaziem has been notably absent from the Super Eagles, and word has finally come out over the absence of the defender. The coach Augustine Eguavoen spoke about Awaziem’s absence from the squad.

When pressed on the availability of the Alanyaspor defender, Eguavoen revealed that Awaziem was not yet ready to participate in the competition. According to the former Super Eagles defender, Awaziem has been absent from proceedings because of an ailment he had and an ankle injury.

A chance to play if fit

Nigeria received a scare against Egypt. Leading 1-0, Omeruo was injured, and the Super Eagles needed a replacement. In the absence of Chidozie Awaziem, Semi Ajayi filled in nicely. Awaziem is one of Nigeria’s best defenders, only behind the centre-back pairing of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun.

Kenneth Omeruo has done a fantastic job in the absence of Awaziem, who was to pair Ekong. Ahead of the game against Guinea-Bissau, Eguavoen spoke about the Awaziem situation. He said he was sick and had ankle issues, explaining his absence. The coach said being a part of the next game is hard to call, but he will look into it. According to Eguavoen, if Awaziem is fit enough, he would give him a run out to gain match fitness.

Nigeria plays their final group game Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday.

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago

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