The Nigeria U-23 team getting set to hit Brazil for the Rio Olympics Games may have been dealt a severe blow with reports claiming that Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho has opted out to stay on with his club for pre-season preparations.
Iheanacho is widely seen as one of the key players Coach Samson Siasia could bank on to challenge for gold in Rio but a report in Manchester City Evening News claims the 19-year old has seen reason to go for pre-season preparations with the Citizens instead of hopping into the plane to star in the men’s football event at the Olympics.
“City are understood to have spoken extensively with Iheanacho, who is on holiday in Nigeria.
“He wanted to represent his country, but is said to have fully understood City’s position, and is also aware of the need to show Guardiola what he can do,” the UK tabloid reported
Before now, Coach Siasia had expressed worries as City failed to respond to letters sent by the Nigeria Football Federation requesting for Iheanacho’s release and this latest development may have just confirmed his fears.
Manchester City are under no obligation to release Iheanacho or any player for the Olympics and incoming boss Pep Guardiola who officially takes his duty post on July 1 has asked that every available player should take part in pre-season.
If Iheanacho had stuck to his guns to represent Nigeria at the Olympics and the Dream Team VI made it as far as the final, the teenage sensation will not only miss a chunk pre-season but also the first set of games of the season.
The Olympic tournament, which is for Under-23 players, starts on August 3.