10 June 2019

Nigeria: Iheanacho's Exclusion Didn't Come to Me As a Surprise - Lawal

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A former international, Garba Lawal has said he was not surprised by Gernot Rohr's decision to drop Leicester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho from the 2019 AFCON squad.

Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, Lawal said he knew long ago that Iheanacho would not make the squad because he was not playing regularly for his club.

He said the player's inactivity left the coach with no option than to settle for other players who were playing more regularly in their European clubs.

Lawal also said the problem of Iheanacho started from the day he was declared surplus to requirement at Manchester City.

He explained that when the player joined Leicester, his problems continued because he could not find playing time ahead of more established strikers like Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki.

"I am not surprised that Rohr dropped Iheanacho. I saw it coming. He is not playing regularly for his club and that made it difficult for the coach to pick him ahead of other players.

"We all know that Paul Onuachu, Samuel Chukwueze and Henry Onyekuru were regulars for their clubs in the just concluded season.

"Iheanacho's problems move from bad to worse when he joined Leicester from Manchester City. It was difficult for him to displace either Vardy or Osazaki. Without regular football, I knew he won't make the list," he said.

Lawal, therefore, advised Iheanacho not to lose hope as he said the way forward for the player is to go back and rediscover his form in his club.

The former Roda JC player said Iheanacho is still young and can bounce back to the national team, if he does not lose concentration.

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