Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has called up Genk forward Paul Onuachu for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.
Rohr invited Onuachu, who was initially on standby, to replace Moses Simon, who has been stopped from joining the Eagles squad by French club Nantes.
Onuachu’s invitation was confirmed via the NFF’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.
“Following the uncertainty regarding the availability of players based in France (due to COVID- 19 laws guiding the country), Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr has extended an invitation to KRC Genk striker Paul Onuachu. Henry Onyekuru was earlier called up to replace injured Samuel Kalu,” the tweet read.
Nantes had via a statement published on their website on Wednesday stated that Simon would not join the Eagles for the AFCON qualifiers.
According to Nantes, all players selected for international duties outside Europe would not be released due to COVID-19 protocols.
“Like several clubs in France, FC Nantes will not release its selected international players for matches outside the European area during the next international break scheduled for the end of March.
“In the absence of health guarantees in accordance with the requirements of the French government in force to date, FC Nantes will not be able to release its internationals outside the limits of the European space.
“This decision, based on FIFA circular 1749 of February 5, is justified by the return protocol imposed on travelers who have traveled outside the European Union, who must in particular respect seven-day isolation.
“The players concerned would also be unable to take part in the match of the 31st day of Ligue 1, scheduled for Sunday, April 4, between FC Nantes and OGC Nice (3 p.m.),” Nantes said.
Onuachu’s initial exclusion from the 24-man Eagles squad released by the NFF last week sparked reactions from Nigerians.
The 26-year-old is the Eagles’ top scorer in Europe with 25 goals from 29 league matches.