Why Kelechi Iheanacho could miss AFCON despite being named in Nigeria's squad

Why Kelechi Iheanacho could miss AFCON despite being named in Nigeria's squad

Chukwu Ikechukwu
updated at December 30, 2023 at 8:54 AM
In this article:
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K. Iheanacho
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  • Kelechi Iheanacho’s participation at AFCON 2023 is in doubts
  • The Super Eagles forward has picked up a muscle injury in training
  • Iheanacho has been named in the Super Eagles’ final 25-man squad

Nigeria could be without striker Kelechi Iheanacho for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations as the Leicester City forward has picked up a muscle injury just weeks before the start of the tournament.

The 27-year-old forward, who only on Friday, December 29 was named in the Super Eagles final 25-man squad for the AFCON, was missing from the Foxes’ squad for the 2-0 win over Cardiff.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Nigeria, Super Eagles, AFCON, Africa Cup of Nations
Kelechi Iheanacho has picked up a muscle injury and could be ruled out of AFCON 2023. Photo by MB Media
Source: Getty Images

According to Leicester Mercury, Iheanacho picked up the injury in the aftermath of the draw with Ipswich on Boxing Day and manager of Leicester City, Enzo Maresca says if the injury is serious, he won’t be going to the AFCON.

“Kelechi has a muscle problem two days ago. We don’t know yet (if it will affect his Afcon call-up). It depends on the injury. If it’s an important injury, he has no chance to go. If it’s not important, he can go.”

Iheanacho’s injury is still being assessed, so the severity is not yet known, but the news comes as a setback to the Super Eagles team, who have outlined a key role for the Leicester City forward.

Aston Villa interested in Iheanacho

Meanwhile, Aston Villa have set their sights on Leicester City and Super Eagles star Kelechi Iheanacho as a top target ahead of the January transfer window, Football Insider reports.

The 27-year-old former Manchester City striker is on the radar for the Midlands giants as they step up their push for a forward signing in the new year.

Iheanacho is out of contract at the end of this season and has featured sparingly for Leicester in recent weeks after battling with sickness and injuries.

Iheanacho rescues Nigeria’s shaky start

Earlier, Sports Brief reported Kelechi Iheanacho's second-half strike earned Nigeria a point against Zimbabwe following a terrible start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Super Eagles continue to struggle after picking only two points from a possible six following back-to-back draws against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in Group C.

Following a slow start by the three-time African champions, Zimbabwe broke the deadlock after 25 minutes through a powerful freekick from Walter Musona.

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Chukwu Ikechukwu
Chukwu Ikechukwu Godwin is a journalist with over 9 years of experience in the Nigerian media industry. He has worked both in Radio (Today FM, Rhythm FM, Wish FM) and Television (Silverbird TV) as a Sports Analyst..