Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo and Ahmed Musa missed the Super Eagles training session at the EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, ahead of Saturday night’s final World Cup warm-up before the team’s departure for Brazil.
The trio have certainly been ruled out of Saturday’s 11pm kick-off against the US national team (USMNT).
A scan result of Echiejile’s muscle injury is still inconclusive. The Monaco of France defender suffered the injury in the first-half of the Tuesday’s warm-up against Greece.
“We don’t want to rush things, we are talking of the World Cup here, not just any other competition, so we have to be careful what we say regarding our top players,” Keshi cautioned.
CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa has some tightness in his thigh, after the match against Greece in Philadelphia.
The good news is the return of FC Ashdod’s defender Juwon Oshaniwa from a bout of malaria. Oshaniwa will most likely play his first game for Nigeria since the Afcon 2013 final in February 2013.
The African champions have recorded just two goals and conceded the same number in their pre-World Cup tune-up games so far.
Both nations will use Sunday morning (Nigerian time) match to finalise their strategies before leaving for the South American host nation of the tournament.
The Eagles were faulted for their lack of goal threat in the goalless draw against Brazil-bound Greece, with a 25-yard Ogenyi Onazi shot in the closing minutes of the encounter being the most salient of the team’s effort at goal.
Nigeria’s defence have had to withstand serious pressure from opponents in their first two pre-tournament friendlies and were lucky not to have fallen behind against the 2004 European champions.
However, Keshi must find a way out for his attackers, who in less than two weeks of camping have not gelled with a midfield formation that boasts of the world revered John Obi Mikel.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s side have recorded two out of two victories in their warm-up games so far and will look to make a statement of their readiness for a group which includes Germany, Portugal and another West African nation Ghana.
Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore and Seattle Sounders’ Clint Dempsey have been used up top by Klinsmann in a diamond 4-4-2 formation, but the former’s lack of goal since October last year is a major concern for the Yankees.
The USMNT have followed a 2-0 victory against Azerbaijan with a 2-1 win over Turkey, both opponents who are not competing in Brazil.
They were 3-2 winners against the Eagles on June 11, 1995, in Foxborough, Mass.
Tit Bit: Berti Vogts, the USMNT’s special advisor through the 2014 Fifa World Cup, coached Nigeria from 2007-08- a period in which Nigeria lost out of the 2008 Afcon tournament to hosts Ghana in the semi-finals.
Nigeria’s Starting 11 vs. USMNT (Unofficial): Enyeama; Oshaniwa, Yobo (c), Oboabona, Efe; Onazi, Mikel, Azeez; Odemwingie, Ameobi, Moses