Genk striker Paul Onuachu has opted to keep mum over his standby role for this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho, according to reports.
The Super Eagles travel to Port Novo to face the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle on March 27, before hosting the Crocodiles at the Teslim Balogun Stadium three days later in their final group fixture.
Many had expected Onuachu to be included in the squad for the games, having shone in the Belgian topflight division for Genk.
The 26-year-old has 26 goals in 30 games, with three assists across all competitions this term.
The Nigerian has more league goals than Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haarland, Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, so far this season.
Instead, Coach Gernot Rohr included Captain Ahmed Musa, who has been without a club in the last five months for the qualifiers.
“It’s the coach’s decision and I respect it, he has the final say and there’s nothing I can do but I will do my best at all times and always fight to represent my fatherland,” Onuachu told newsmen.
The decision has, however, infuriated one of Onuachu’s intermediaries, who believe placing the Belgian top division top scorer on standby for the AFCON qualifiers was disrespectful.
“The reality is that he (Onuachu) is up there with the strikers listed for the qualifiers, if not in better shape and form than them,” he said.
“It is disrespectful listing him as one of the standby players for the game. It would have been better to leave him out completely than placing him on standby.
“With which criteria was Musa included in the squad?”