Former Nigeria caretaker coach, Austin Eguavoen has explained why he dropped Kelechi Iheanacho from the Super Eagles' starting lineup for the crucial second leg clash against the Black Stars of Ghana.
Why I dropped Iheanacho for crucial 2nd leg against Ghana - Eguavoen
The former Super Eagles coach chose to discipline Iheanacho because of Partey.
Iheanacho featured for all 90 minutes when the Super Eagles played out a 0-0 draw against Ghana in the first leg at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, Ashanti.
The Leicester City man was dropped for the second leg as Eguavoen opted to play Joe Aribo in an advanced position.
The plan by Eguavoen backfired as the Super Eagles played out a 1-1 draw in the second leg at the 60,000 capacity MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja.
To explain the Super Eagles' failure to qualify for the World Cup, Eguavoen appeared on SuperSport’s Monday Night Football.
The former Super Eagles legend explained that Iheanacho was dropped because he failed to track Ghanaian captain, Thomas Partey who dictated in the first leg.
Eguavoen on SuperSport’s Monday Night Football said, “Iheanacho you saw him few days ago his performance against Manchester United, and people were saying Iheanacho stayed too long on that field.
“We gave him a specific role in Kumasi. In as much as he’s going to go up there and support Osimhen, he has a duty to perform by stopping Thomas Partey.
“He’s playing as a second striker because Partey dictates the game but he was sometimes late in reacting that’s why Partey had those luxuries.
“Since he didn’t do that, I spoke with him I told him he’ll start from the bench and at some point he’ll come in”.
After being dropped by Eguavoen for the second leg, Iheanacho responded by finding the back of the net for Leicester City as they recorded a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend.
Iheanacho is expected to return to action when Leicester City host PSV in an Europa Conference League fixture scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2022, at the King Power Stadium.