Ruben Gabriel and Papa Idris will not play against Liberia in the Nations Cup qualifier.
The injuries that knocked the Kano Pillars duo, Ruben Gabriel and newly wedded Papa Idris, from the first leg of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, qualifiers with the Lone Stars of Liberia is yet to abate and has again ruled them out of the all important second leg clash.
The media officer to the Eagles, Ben Alaiya, told PREMIUM TIMES that midfield ace, Reuben, and Idris, are yet to fully recover to be part of the team that will confront Liberia on October 13.
Reuben suffered a groin injury during the finals of the Federations Cup in Lagos, while Idris has been battling a nagging knee injury, which has slowed down the usually pacy central defender.
Mr. Alaiya revealed that after Monday’s training, Coach Stephen Keshi and his crew had a lengthy meeting after which it was decided that the two players should be excused, going by the crucial nature of the game at hand.
They have since left camp and would be replaced by Heartland’s Kalu Orji, and Stanley Okoronkwo of Sharks FC of Port Harcourt.
“It was a painful decision to let the two players go, but we have to look at the future of the players and the fact that we will need the two of them at the South Africa 2013 Nations Cup, that is why we have said we should give them more time to go and get themselves healed. After the game against Liberia, they should be back in the team”, Keshi explained.
Meanwhile PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that all the players invited, save for the Sunshine Stars duo of Izu Azuka and Solomon Kwambe, beat the Sunday evening deadline and were part of the training session at the training pitch of the Abuja National Stadium.
The two Sunshine Stars players it was gathered have special permission to stay away for now.
Sunshine is preparing to host Egyptian giants, Al Ahly Nationale this weekend in the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League.