Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr has clarified Ahmed Musa has been invited for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as a non-playing captain.
The forward was a surprise inclusion in the 24-man team released by the German tactician on Tuesday, given the winger has not played a competitive game since the Super Eagles’ last Afcon qualifying game against Sierra Leone in November.
The 28-year-old has been without a club since October when he parted ways with Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr by mutual agreement.
Nigeria fans had taken to social media to lambast the 67-year-old for his decisions, forcing the German to clarify the role the captain will play for his side in the outings.
“It’s important to clarify that Musa is not in the competitive list of 23 players for our game against Benin and Lesotho,” Rohr told BBC Sport Africa.
“We’ve invited Musa as the captain by making him the 24th player, but he is not as part of the 23 on the list that will play our two matches.
“What is important now is to focus on the games ahead and not to be distracted by anything else. We hope for all our players to be fit and travel down safely for the matches.”
Nigeria will take on the Republic of Benin at Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on March 27 before facing the Crocodiles three days later at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.
The three-time African champions lead the Group L table with eight points, one ahead of second-placed Benin while Sierra Leone have three points and Lesotho two.
Victory in either of their outings in March will seal Nigeria’s place at the 2022 edition of the continental competition.
Everton forward Iwobi had previously stated the West Africans will do all it takes to secure victory over the Squirrels and the Crocodiles in order to qualify for the Afcon tournament.
“The positive you can take is we are still on course to be top of the table, so we are confident we have the quality to do so and put 100% for 90 minutes this time, so we can qualify,” Iwobi said.
“The opportunity I was given last time to be involved in that competition, I want that feeling again.
“If you are in a competition you want to win it, [and] I believe us players feel we have the quality to do so. We’d like to play in the best competitions and win them, so we have to prove that against Lesotho and Benin.”