Paok Saloniki of Greece defensive midfielder Anderson Esiti has been drafted to replace injured Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi for the September 10 friendly between Nigeria and Ukraine at the Dnipro Arena.
Ndidi had tweaked his hamstring in the Foxes 1-1 draw at Chelsea, where the Nigerian conceded an own goal but restored Foxes’ pride with a dying minutes equaliser through a nifty header. He may be out for two weeks.
The 25-year-old Esiti has been impressive for his former club KAA Gent of Belgium which earned him a lucrative transfer to Greece Champions Paok Saloniki before the start of the new season after the Greek club courted him for three years.
Eagles manager Gernot Rohr who has been monitoring Nigerian players abroad since pre-season in Europe want to see the midfielder at close range to determine his integration into the Eagles fold through the Ukraine friendly. “We are thinking about Anderson Esiti of Paok Saloniki to replace injured Leicester City midfielder
Wilfred Ndidi for the friendly match against Ukraine on September 10”, Rohr told SportingLife.ng from
his base in France.
Already, the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) on its website stated that: “This match (September 10) will be the best gift to Dnipro, the main outpost of Ukraine in the east, and the first national team game in the city in the last 10 years.”
“Considering the postponement of the friendly match with the Turks, which was supposed to take place in Dnipro in November last year, such a decision is absolutely logical and fair,” said UAF President Andrey Pavelko. “September 10, Ukraine’s national team, for the first time in history, will play a friendly match with three-time African champion – Nigeria, who recently confirmed their status as of one of the continent’s strongest teams with the bronze medal of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt,” the UAF website informed.
Bryan Idowu has also been added to the list to make it 24 players.