Leadership (Abuja)

8 January 2013

Nigeria: Rabiu Ibrahim Dropped From Afcon Squad

Rabiu Ibrahim and three other players have been dropped by Super Eagles handler, Stephen Keshi ahead of the AFCON this month 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 said the affected players departed Faro yesterday. Four other players will be dropped today to give Nigeria a final 23-man squad for the Nations Cup. The Eagles media officer said Keshi made the announcement after dinner on Sunday and the players took it in good faith. "Everything is good in camp, all players are in good spirit. The four players dropped took it in good faith because of the way coach did it," said Alaiya.

"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 AFCON but could still make it another time. We have 27 players in camp now and four more will be dropped Tuesday."

Of the dropped players, the team official said Rabiu'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 at training, the look, the style of play, but there are lot of better players in the midfield, so he has to go," he remarked. "Henry Uche has a future in the team, while I feel sorry for Uche Kalu as he was involved in all the qualifiers but the injury knocked him out."

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