Nigeria are running out of time as they wait to find out if England-born defender Ola Aina will play a part in their upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cameroon.
Hull City full back Aina is one of 24 players called up by Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr for the Super Eagles meeting with Cameroon twice in the early days of September but a serious cloud of uncertainty surrounds the participation of the versatile lad in the fixtures.
Aina was touted to make his national team bow last May when the team embarked on a tour in Corsica but despite being part of the team, he was shut out due to the Football Federation’s failure to secure his international clearance from World Football’s governing body FIFA after the youngster switched allegiance from England to Nigeria.
Aina has represented England from Under-16 to Under-20 levels but opted to play for the country of birth of his parents after holding talks with Nigeria Football Federation President Amaju Pinnick earlier this year.
Responding to a question posted to him by www.aclsports.com‘s Fisayo Dairo regarding Aina’s participation. Rohr said:
“The situation of Ola Aina is that we are waiting now for the official document from FIFA. We did all (we could). He has his Nigerian passport, his father has come in.”
“The officials told me that we are missing one letter from the government to ensure that he really is a citizen of Nigeria. I’m wondering why FIFA are asking for this letter again because he already has his passport and his parents are Nigerians but I think they will do it.”
With the clock ticking fast and Nigeria racing against time to secure Aina’s eligibility status for Friday’s game, Rohr, while expressing hopes that it will come on time for his participation also hinted of their contingency plans should Aina remain ineligible.
“I hope it is done today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday). We will have the official qualification of Ola but we have also invited in the last moment Uche Agbo (drafted from the list of players on standby) in any case of non-qualification of Ola Aina,” added Rohr.
In the event of Aina’s ineligibility, Rohr is expected to continue at right back with Shehu Abdullahi who plays his club football in Cyprus with Anorthosis Famagusta. The Netherlands-born Tyronne Ebuehi is the other option available for Rohr at right back.