Celtic v Juventus: Bench beckons for Efe Ambrose

IF NIGERIA win their first Africa Cup of Nations since 1994 today it will be party time for a country that doesn’t have its problems to seek.

One man who will have to forego the celebrations, however, is Celtic midfielder Efe Ambrose, pictured, who will immediately fly back to Glasgow in the hope of featuring in Celtic’s Champions League last 16 first leg clash with Juventus.

Parkhead manager Neil Lennon is desperate to get the player back and at least in the squad for Tuesday night’s game. “We’re working on it – and his agent is, as well,” said Lennon. “We have already put measures in place to get Efe back as soon as possible.

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“We will need feedback on what kind of condition he’s going to be in after he plays in a huge international game and then has to endure a ten to 12-hour flight. That remains to be seen. But he’s a fit boy and we obviously want him back. Even if he doesn’t start, he will feature.”

Before even contemplating the prospect of locking horns with Andrea Pirlo, Ambrose must first deal with a Burkina Faso team hoping for an upset like Zambia managed when they beat Ivory Coast last year. The underdogs will have striker Jonathan Pitroipa available after his semi-final red card was rescinded, but it remained unclear if injured Nigerian attackers Victor Moses and Emmanuel Emenike will be fit for the match at Soccer City.

The final will be a rematch of the teams’ group opener, which ended 1-1 after Nigeria conceded an injury-time equaliser in Nelspruit.