Premium Times (Abuja)

7 June 2014

Nigeria: Brazil 2014 - Injury Forces Nigeria's Echiejile Out, Uzoenyi Recalled

Photo: Cameroononline
Samuel Eto'o and Didier Drogba

The Super Eagles left defender, Elderson Echiejile, has been ruled out of the World Cup.

The Monaco of France left full back suffered an injury in the first half of Nigeria's friendly match against Greece and was substituted.

He was among the 23-man list Nigeria submitted to FIFA for the World Cup and was sure to start for the Eagles if fit.

Medics in the national team ruled Echiejile out of the Mundial with a hamstring injury that would take him between 10 days and three weeks to heal and return to full fitness.

Already, the CHAN 2014 Most Valuable Player, Ejike Uzoenyi, has been called up as his replacement.

Uzoenyi will now rejoin his national teammates in the United States, having been dropped when the Eagles list was trimmed from 30 to 23.

While Echiejile was at South Africa 2010 and had hoped for a second World Cup appearance in Brazil, the 2014 World Cup will be Uzoenyi's first.

Uzoenyi recently signed for South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns.

Nigeria was in a similar situation on the eve of the South Africa 2010 World Cup when injury forced out Mikel Obi and paved way for the surprise invitation of Brown Ideye to the Super Eagles squad.

Coach Stephen Keshi also spoke on Echiejile's situation and that of another defender, Kenneth Omeruo.

Speaking after the Eagles had lunch at its Hyatt Hotel base in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, Keshi said for Omeruo would be fit and ready for the opening game of the World Cup against Iran, after clashing with a team mate in training three days ago.

Omeruo's clearance is coming after he went for a scan on his ankle on Saturday morning. The coach, in a statement by the team handlers, said Echejile is out of the World Cup, even when the player said on Saturday morning that he was feeling very well and will be ready soon.

"Doctors have said he will need up to three weeks to recover from the muscle tear but we don't have that type of time to play with so we have to replace him", Keshi said.

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