AFCON 2023: Ndidi ruled out for Nigeria, replacement named

In a setback for Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations campaign, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has been ruled out through injury. Antwerp's Alhassan Yusuf will replace the Leicester City star.

While all 24 teams participating in the AFCON are set to finalize their squads soon, alterations can be made until January 10 in case of injuries.

Ndidi to miss AFCON

Leicester coach Enzo Marescca had earlier revealed that both Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi are injured but will link up with the Super Eagles but it now looks like Ndidi's injury is much more than was initially thought.

“Kele and Wilf are both injured, but they are now going to be with the international team,” Maresca said after City extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches. “We’ll see if they’re going to keep them or send them back. But they are both injured unfortunately for us.

The defensive midfielder was left out of Leicester City's recent victory over Huddersfield Town due to injury.

Alhassan Yusuf to replace Ndidi

Responding swiftly to the situation, Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro and the team's administration have reached out to Alhassan Yusuf. The midfielder, who has been churning out impressive performances with Antwerp in Belgium, received the call to join the AFCON training camp in Dubai, which commenced on January 2

Despite not having received any previous caps for the Super Eagles, Alhassan Yusuf's commendable form in Belgium earned him a spot in the initial 40-man provisional squad for the AFCON.

Now, with Ndidi's unfortunate injury ruling him out, Yusuf has received a late but crucial opportunity to represent his country on the continental stage.

Alhassan Yusuf gets late call up to the Super Eagles
Antwerp's Alhassan Yusuf Abdullahi pictured in action during a soccer game between Belgian Royal Antwerp FC and Portuguese FC Porto, Wednesday 25 October 2023 in Antwerp, on day three of the Champions League group stage, in the group H. BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR – Photo by Icon sport

The midfielder was called up last year by Jose Peseiro for a game but didn't make it due to personal reasons but now has a chance to represent Nigeria at a major tournament.

Forward Kelechi Iheanacho who is also on the injury list is still expected in camp and Peseiro will hope that the Leicester forward can shake off his injury worries ahead of the tournament with OG Nice forward Terem Moffi on standby incase Iheanacho doesn't make it.

Nigeria are placed in Group A, alongside hosts Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

AFCON 2023: Ndidi ruled out for Nigeria, replacement named
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.