Kelechi Iheanacho, is inline to make his first appearance at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria when they take on Cameroon in a round of 16 clash at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny on Saturday, reports.
Iheanacho who has recovered from a thigh injury that made him a major injury doubt for the AFCON, was an unused substitute for Nigeria during the group stages of the competitions – a decision which fueled rumours that he was in the bad books of coach Jose Peseiro.
Several online reports (not in ) reported that the Leicester City striker had been frozen out of the squad by Peseiro after he disrespected the Portuguese coach during one of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers last November.
But during a pre-match conference on Friday, Peseiro dispelled the rift speculation adding that he would not invited the player for the tournament if the reports were true.
“If something happened between me and Kelechi, he wouldn’t have come, he would have stayed back at Leicester,” Peseiro said.
“You know about Kelechi’s injury. He was recovering during our camping, he arrived 4:30 am (on the day of the opener). He started collective work with us one day after. That is the reason.
“When a player recovers, the coach and medical staff need to manage to see if he’s fit or not, ready or not, it’s clear. Easy answer as coach but for you of course you cannot understand that.
“Kelechi, we believe too much in him and he’s going to play and going to score.”
Prior to the start of the AFCON, Iheanacho was arguably the most influential player in the Eagles since the end of last year, having scored or assisted in each of his last five appearances for the team.