He might be Nigeria’s hottest striker, but it appears Paul Onuachu cannot convince Super Eagles boss, Gernot Rohr of his qualities, to lead the national team with the German set to overlook the striker in the soon-to-be-released players’ list for Nigeria’s last two 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
Onuachu, 26, has been in red hot form this campaign and scored his 25th league goal for Genk at the weekend but will be snubbed by Rohr for the Group L fixtures against the Benin Republic and Lesotho on 27 and 30 March respectively, busybuddiesng.com understands.
There will, however, be first-time call ups for in-form Almeria striker Sadiq Umar and little-known 21-year-old Lorient forward Terem Moffi, sources say.
Onuachu has reportedly been informed of Rohr’s snub with the former Gabon manager confirming the striker would be on a standby list – a decision said not to have gone down too well with the former FC Midtjylland forward.
The latest reported snub for Onuachu whose eight appearances for Nigeria have all come under Rohr appears further confirmation the Super Eagles boss remains unconvinced of the player’s suitability for the national team despite his impressive campaign at club level.
And with number one striker Victor Osimhen fit again and back among the goals at Napoli, Rohr it appears, has decided he can do without Onuachu against Benin and Lesotho.
Despite handing Onuachu his call up in 2019, Rohr has often struggled to fit the player into his preferred style of play and the coach publically warned Onuachu last year to adapt his style to the national team or risk being overlooked for national team assignments.
And it appears the same style, which has brought the striker 26 goals in all competitions for his Belgian side hasn’t been deemed good enough for Rohr.
Onuachu was an unused sub in Nigeria’s goalless draw with Sierra Leone in last November’s qualifiers and last played for the national team in the final 15 minutes of the catastrophic 4-4 draw against the same opponents in Benin four days earlier on 13 November when Nigeria gave up a four-goal first-half lead.
Meanwhile, Umar earns a maiden call up to the Super Eagles on the back of an excellent campaign for Spanish La Liga 2 side Almeria.
The 23-year-old has found stability at the Spanish side this season having bounced around European clubs in recent years and is having a standout campaign that has seen him plunder 14 goals as he spearheads Almeria’s charge for a return to the Spanish top flight.
The former U23 striker who won Bronze at the Rio Games in 2016 was named La Liga Smartbank Player of the Month award for January and it appears Rohr has also been keeping tabs.
Little known Moffi gets his call up having scored eight league goals in 21 appearances for new club Lorient.
The striker will be the latest in a long list of forwards called by Rohr in his time as Eagles manager.
The Super Eagles lead Group L and need only one point in their last two games to book their place in Cameroon for next year’s continental showpiece.
The three-time African champions play Benin Republic at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto-Novo on 27 March before returning to Lagos for the first time in ten years to play Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on 30 March.