Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has expressed his dissatisfaction at the decision of the English Premier League to restrict players from travelling to certain countries over COVID-19 fears.
The German manager told ESPN that the decision to prevent players from going to “Red Zones” could tarnish the integrity of the World Cup qualifiers.
Rohr named his squad for Nigeria’s opening two World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde this week but was forced to name an additional six players as a backup for the second game.
Eight of the players in the squad play in England and Scotland and will be out of the second game at Cape Verde, a country that falls under the UK’s “red zone” COVID infection classification.
“It is difficult to understand why England is giving exception to the Euro but not for the other World Cup games,” he said. “They could do everything for the Euro where England participated but nothing for the World Cup players. It is very important for each country who has ambitions to qualify and this kind of decision will tarnish the competition.”
Rohr will be preparing for the game against Cape Verde with almost an entirely different team from the one that will play against Liberia.
“We are preparing the team as best as possible but we will not have these players who are some of our best players.
“All our midfielders will not be there. Our central defense also will not be there and our good striker Kelechi will also not be there. So it will not be easy against a very difficult team like Cape Verde.”
The Premier League announced that they “reluctantly but unanimously” acted because players would be required to quarantine in hotels for 10 days upon their return, forcing them to miss at least two league games.