Coach Stephen Keshi says Victor Moses and Brown Ideye were not included in Nigeria squad for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Congo and South Africa because of their recent injuries.
Moses, who opened his goal-scoring account for Stoke City in a 2-2 draw with West Ham last weekend, was conspicuously missing from the Super Eagles 25-man squad for Congo and South Africa.
“I left him out because he’s just coming back from injury and we don’t want to take risks,’ Keshi told SuperSport.com.
“Everyone knows what I think of Victor. He’s a good kid and very talented footballer but at this point, for the upcoming games, we don’t want to take any risks.
“The first game we will play in Pointe Noire, Congo will be on artificial surface and a lot of players don’t react well to that.
“I would not want him to aggravate the injury.”
Keshi, who was reinstated as coach of the African champions two weeks after being sacked on Friday, intimated that West Bromwich Albion forward Ideye requires more playing time to hit peak performance level.
“Ideye is also a good kid,” remarked the 52-year-old. “Like you know, he was also recently injured.
“And the truth is that since his return, he’s not been playing much for his club. He needs to play more but I’m okay with him. No problems at all.
“The truth is that this country is blessed with a lot of very good players and not everyone can be asked to play at the same time.”
The Eagles will face Congo in Point-Noire on November 15 before entertaining South Africa at the Uyo International Stadium four days later.
They must record maximum points from both fixtures- as much as winning by a two-goal margin in Congo-to stand a chance of defending the title they won in South Africa last year in Morocco come 2015. Keshi admits it will be a difficult task but reiterates confidence in the quality in his team.
“South Africa will be fired up following the death of their goalkeeper [Senzo Meyiwa]. They have not lost or conceded a goal since the qualifiers started and they will be eager to continue in that run,” noted Keshi.
“We faced Congo first in Calabar and to be honest, that [3-2 defeat] was not what we expected.
“We have been watching the tapes of the four games they played earlier, looking at their strengths and weaknesses.
“I am confident in the 25 players I called up for this latest assignment and I am sure they will deliver.
“Nigerians should please support this team as that will be the only way we can achieve success.”