Seven key players are unavailable for selection as Sierra Leone coach John Keister named a tentative 38-man squad ahead of Nigeria’s matchday five African Cup of Nations qualifier at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Stadium in Liberia on June 18.

It is a must-win for Leone Stars if they are to revive their qualification chances. Nigeria won the first meeting between the two nations 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on 09 June 2022.

Coach Keister has, however, named twelve foreign-based and twenty-six local stars provisionally drafted for the cracker against the three-time African champions Super Eagles of Nigeria.

The foreign-based are Barnet‘s striker Idriss Kanu, Randers‘ striker Alhaji Kamara, Charleston Battery‘s Augustine Williams, Crotone‘s Augustus Kargbo, Rodney Michael, FC Andorra winger Mustapha Bundu on loan from Anderlecht, Kamil Conteh, Israel-based player Emmanuel Samadia, Alusine Koroma from RB Linense, skipper Steven Caulker, Daniel Francis from German side KFC Uerdingen 05 and Horoya AC keeper Mohamed Kamara. 

As coach John Keister gets his side ready to battle their way into Ivory Coast AFCON 2023, here are the key missing players.

Panaitolikos‘s attacker Jonathan Morsay, who scored in the 2-1 defeat at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, in June 2022, is absent due to Cartilage damage to his knee. 

Queens Park Rangers‘ defender Osman Kakay continued on the sidelines due to an ankle injury he sustained in March in their English Championship defeat to Birmingham City.

Cambuur‘s right-back Alex Bangura, since the friendly defeat to Algeria B at the Furaijah Stadium (Saturday, November 19 2022) in Dubai, has not made himself available to play for Sierra Leone.

Shanghái Port‘s winger Issa Kallon, who scored in Shanghái Port’s 3-0 win over Changchun Yatai on Monday, is still unavailable to play for Sierra Leone due to personal reasons.

Milton Keynes Dons attacker Sullay Kaikai will not be part of the squad against Nigeria. He played in both matches against São Tomé and Príncipe.

Egaleo’s experienced midfielder John Kamara has not been named due to personal issues. Kamara has been part of the last four of the Afcon qualifying matches. 

Sierra Leone Spain-based midfielder Alhassan Koroma is suspended a big blow to the coach’s plans. Koroma, 22, picked up his first booking against Nigeria in the 2-1 defeat in June 2022 before his second against Sao Tome and Principe in Leone Stars’ 2-0 triumph in March this year. In that encounter, he picked up a second yellow.

The RB Linense midfielder, who scored a brilliant goal in the win over Some Tome, will have to miss the crucial tie against Group A Leaders.

Meanwhile, skipper Steven Caulker, who is desperate to be part of the squad, still has a doubt. After his surgery, Sierra Leone captain Caulker remains a significant doubt despite being named to the team.

Nigeria topped Group A of the qualifiers with nine points after four games, followed by Guinea-Bissau with seven points, while Sierra Leone sit third with five points after the same number of games.

Connect with us @football_sierra on Facebook/ Instagram, Football Sierra Leone, the writer on Twitter @Bittar32, Contact bi****@ol*.net and National News.

Key players absent as Sierra Leone name squad for Nigeria

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