New Telegraph

Cape Verde vs Nigeria: EPL clubs stop Eagles stars from World Cup qualifier

…Ndidi, Iheanacho, Ekong, Iwobi, Etebo may play only Liberia tie


Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr will prosecute the World Cup qualifying match against Cape Verde in Praia on September 7 without key players including Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, and William Troost- Ekong as their English Premier League clubs have stopped them from traveling to the island nation.


Nigeria will face Liberia on September 3 before traveling to Praia to face Cape Verde but the island nation is one of the countries on the UK Red List of coronavirus which means any player who visits that country will have to quarantine for at least 10 days before he can resume normal life in England.



Everton’s Alex Iwobi and Oghenekaro Etebo of Watford are the other players this could affect. The affected players will be allowed to fly down to Nigeria for the first World Cup qualifier against Liberia on September 3 because Nigeria is not on the Red List. But that cannot be the same in the case of the players then venturing to Praia, Cape Verde, for the subsequent qualifier four days later.


This dilemma may well explain the delay in the release of the list of invited players for the World Cup qualifiers. Premier League confirmed this in a press statement that “the EPL clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month.


The clubs’ decision, which is strongly supported by the Premier League, will apply to nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs who are due to travel to 26 red-list countries in the September international window.


“This follows FIFA’s current position not to extend its temporary release exception for players required to quarantine on their return from international duty. “Extensive discussions have taken place with both The FA and the Government to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travelers from red-list countries, no exemption has been granted.”

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