FLASH: Kelechi Iheanacho could replace Samuel kalu

Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho has been placed on standby to replace Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu in the Super Eagles camp after he collapsed in training and was rushed to hospital in a major health scare.

Kalu, 21, collapsed while trying to take a corner-kick during a training session yesterday and was immediately rushed to the hospital. He has since been confirmed as okay and stabilised but the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is awaiting a decision from the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) Medical Committee on whether he can participate in the ongoing Africa Nations Cup.

Yesterday, the tournament began with hosts Egypt beating Zimbabwe 1-0 in the opening match and today Nigeria will take to the field against Burundi. Caf officials are now waiting on a full medical report, which will determine whether it was a heart attack or just dehydration.
Since the incident happened within the 24-hour time window before a team is allowed before the kickoff of their opening game, Nigeria may be able to substitute the player if the Caf Medical Committee determines that Kalu cannot compete at the tournament.

Ultimately, the decision to substitute the player would have to be approved by the organising committee and if not granted, Nigeria will be forced to prosecute the tournament with just 22 players instead of 23.
Iheanacho, 22, is one of the two players that was dropped from Gernot Rohr’s initial 25-man squad. NFF spokesman Toyin Ibitoye, revealed that the federation is waiting for the doctor’s final report on the matter.

Mr Ibitoye added: “We are waiting for the doctor’s final reports of what really happened to him. They are still in hospital and we thank God he is in a stable condition. “Life is sacred and much more important than football. What matters most now is his complete recovery and not the length of time he would be sidelined.”

By Olamide Oyetunji

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