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.

Rangers duo Leon Balogun, left, and Joe Aribo, right, have been called into the Nigeria squad for AFCON.
Rangers duo Leon Balogun, left, and Joe Aribo, right, have been called into the Nigeria squad for AFCON.

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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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.

Read More
Former Rangers boss Steven Gerrard sidelined again by Covid as Aston Villa relea...

A message from the Editor: Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers. If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.