Confirmed: Rangers duo to miss key matches for AFCON but snub for defender - Jose Mourinho could be in charge of them
Rangers duo Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun have been named in Nigeria’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles named their squad for the tournament on Christmas Day and, as expected, Aribo and Balogun have been selected.
There is no place, however, for their team-mate Calvin Bassey, who had been tipped for a maiden call-up after recent strong performances in the centre of Rangers’ defence.
Nigeria have three group-stage fixtures for the tournament in Cameroon, which are against Egypt on Tuesday, January 11, Sudan on Sunday, January 15 and Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday, January 19.
Aribo and Balogun are certain to miss Rangers’ rearranged cinch Premiership match away at Aberdeen on Tuesday, January 18 – and depending on how far they progress, they could miss up to a further five domestic games.
The final is due to be played in Yaounde on Sunday, February 6, the same day as Rangers’ home match against Hearts, while the semi-finals clash with a trip to Celtic Park on Wednesday, February 2.
If Nigeria make it to the knock-out stage, then the players would likely miss the Scottish Cup tie with Stirling Albion on Friday, January 21, a match against Livingston five days later and almost certainly the clash with Ross County on Saturday, January 29.
Aribo and Balogun could also be managed by Jose Mourinho for the tournament, with reports suggesting that the current Roma boss is in talks with the Nigerian FA to make a move before the tournament kicks off next month.