LBW

Monday, 13 December 2021

Top Club Sweat Over Nigerian Players For Vital Derby



Rangers set for Celtic derby D-day as they sweat over availability of Nigeria stars

Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun could all be ruled out of the trip to Parkhead on January 2 unless the Super Eagles allow them to join up late for the African Nations Cup.

Rangers could be set be discover this week if they will have Nigeria stars Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey are available for their Ne’erday derby showdown at Parkhead.

Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr revealed last month that the Ibrox club had requested they delay the arrival of their three key players - if selected by the German boss - ahead of the African Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon, with their first game against Egypt on January 9 in Garoua.

Rangers face Celtic on January 2 and former boss Steven Gerrard was hopeful Nigeria would allow the players to compete in their final matches before the winter break for Rangers ahead of travelling for the tournament.

And another former Ibrox boss, QPR manager Mark Warburton, has revealed clubs should get answers this week with FIFA indicating any decision on late arrivals are up to individual associations, with the London club sweating on the availability of three of their players who will play for Morocco, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

He said: "From what I understand, the directive from the world governing body is that you have to have individual phone calls and arrangements and try and see what you can do.

All we can do is speak to the respective associations and try and work with them and we will hopefully get confirmation very soon.

"We have had a game against Bournemouth moved from the 26th to the 27th, which now can potentially be very damaging for us and we have to do what we can to resolve that issue.

"We have to work with them. At the end of the day people talk about associations and countries, but their managers and coaches have to win games and are judged by the games they win and I get that.

"We fully understand it is a two-way arrangement. We have always been very good with the associations giving our players every opportunity to impress at international level so I hope the fairness we have demonstrated over the last few months will be reciprocated.”


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