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CHAN: More injury worries for Eagles

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Stephen-Keshi-Coach-Nigeria-Shengolpixs--300 (2)Players’ medical fitness has become a major concern for Stephen Keshi and his assistants as the kick off date for the African Nations Championship draws nearer. On Sunday officials of the team lamented the situation in camp with Gambo Mohammed now listed as doubtful for the competition starting in South Africa on January 11.

Striker Gambo who featured for the Super Eagles at the June FIFA Confederations Cup did not travel with the CHAN Eagles to Port Harcourt after team doctors confirmed his injury. Another player, Adeyinka Adedeji, who travelled for the game and was listed eventually, copped a hamstring injury while warming up for the friendly match against Gokana United in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The checks on Sunday meant that at least four players have had knocks – two serious while two were termed very negligible. The players not on the watch list whose injuries were described as minor are Solomon Kwambe and Umar Zango, the Kano Pillars central defender, who did not make the trip to the Port Harcourt friendly.

Even though team medical officials say Gambo and Adedeji have what they described as “50-50” chances of making the trip to South Africa, they have however not given up on the two players. Both players suffered similar injuries.

Keshi said of the injuries, “We have worries medically but we will wait till the last minute to see if the players can pull through.”

But it is not only injury worries for the team as players in camp are constantly in touch with their managers in search of European clubs exploring the January transfer window. Golden Eaglets striker Kelechi Iheanacho was the first to leave the Eagles ‘B’ team and was followed on Friday by Sunday Mba who became famous for his goal against Cote d’Ivoire and the winner against Burkina Faso at the Africa Nations Cup last February also in South Africa.  Mba left for French second division side CA Bastia.

CHAN is specifically for players featuring in each country’s domestic league. Nigeria will be making their debut at the 2014 CHAN and they are drawn in Group A along with hosts South Africa, Mali and Mozambique.

Meanwhile, the national team will on Monday morning tackle Nigerian league champions, Kano Pillars at the main bowl of the Abuja National Stadium. The Eagles have so far played four practice matches against local Nigerian sides, winning three and drawing the one against Gokana United on Saturday.

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