Former Nigeria head coach Augustine Eguavoen has revealed Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho started from the bench in the Super Eagles game against Ghana because he failed to follow instructions in Kumasi.
The West African rivals met on March 25 for the first leg of the 2022 World Cup qualifier and settled for a goalless draw, before they drew 1-1 in Abuja two days later where the Black Stars qualified on the away goals rule.
Despite being involved in the first meeting, Iheanacho started the second game on the bench and was not involved at all.
The winger, however, played a vital role for his club, scoring the goal that forced Manchester United to a 1-1 draw, prompting some to question why he did not get a chance to feature for Nigeria in the second leg.
Eguavoen said on Monday Night Football on SuperSport:
Iheanacho, you saw him a few days ago, his performance against Manchester United and people were saying Iheanacho stayed too long on that field.
In Kumasi, we gave Iheanacho a specific role. In as much as he’s going to go up there and support [Victor] Osimhen, he has a duty to perform by stopping Thomas Partey.
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.
In Iheanacho’s absence on the pitch, Arsenal midfielder Partey opened the scoring for the Black Stars in the 10th minute from just outside the 18-yard area.
However, the hosts fought back and equalised in the 22nd minute through their captain William Troost-Ekong.
Ghana will now play in their fourth World Cup in the country’s history, alongside Tunisia, Cameroon, Senegal and Morocco as the other African representatives.
The 2022 edition will run from November 21 to December 18 in Qatar.