Some soccer fans on Saturday described as regrettable the exclusion of Super Eagles winger, Ahmed Musa and Nigerian Manchester City youngster, Kelechi Iheanacho, from the country`s U-23 squad for the Rio Olympics.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the exclusion of the in-form duo from the team due to their clubs’ commitments, would affect the squad`s performance at the global sporting event.
NAN reports that Coach Samson Siasia recently named his 18man-squad for the Olympics, leaving out new Leicester City signing, Musa and Manchester City teenage sensation, Iheanacho.
City did not release Iheanacho, who scored 12 goals for the club last season, for the games to allow new coach, Pep Guardiola, prepare the young lad for the new English Premier League (EPL) season.
Musa has just completed a 16 million pounds move to EPL winner, Leicester, from CSKA Moscow and the club believed he needed time to settle to help its grip at the title in the new season.
Chelsea Midfielder, Mikel Obi, however was named Captain of the team, which also includes players like Junior Ajayi, Daniel Akpeyi,
Kingsley Madu, Popoola Sodiq and Imoh Ezekiel.
Destiny Omoregie, a fan who lives in Ayobo, said the exclusion of the two players was a big blow for the squad.
“Musa and Iheanacho are some of the best players the country can boast of right now. It is very unfortunate that the players will not be at the Olympics. We will really miss their impact,“he said.
He, however, expressed happiness that Mikel was part of the team, charging the experienced player to put everything to bear to galvanise the team to success in Rio.
Wole Farotimi, a sports journalist said the exclusion of Iheanacho from the team due to non-release by his club was particularly painful .
He said the young lad had done pretty well for the club and Nigeria in recent times, and that the Olympics would have provided him an opportunity to further prove his worth.
“Iheanacho, no doubt, has been consistent in form for Manchester City and Nigeria. He is a player hungry for the big stage.
“His impact will be missed in the attack. I wish he had made the team to further prove himself “Farotimi said.
Another fan, Mr Taiwo Akinola, an Estate Agent, said that Musa was the kind of player that would have provided the needed bite in the team`s attack at the games.
He said the performance of Musa at the last World Cup in Brazil, especially against Argentina showed that the pacy player was an asset to any team any day.
“Musa could dribble, he could run, he could score goals and mark. I really hate the fact that he will not be at the Olympics, It is really painful, “ he said.
But for Sunday Adelani, a grassroots football team coach in Alimosho, the exclusion of the two should not be a cause for worry.
Adelani argued that matches were not won by big names but by team work, saying the crashing out of Argentina in the Copa America Cup despite Lionel Messis inclusion, was a lesson that team work mattered more.
“Argentina did not win Copa America despite Messi in the team. Czech Republic did very well in Euro 2016 despite using relatively unknown names .
“Siasia should focus on building team work for success at the Olympics. If he does his work well, the team will do well without these two players, “ he said. (NAN)