JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Nigeria defender Uwa Echiejile is out of the World Cup with an unspecified injury.
The team said in a statement on Saturday that the Monaco left back had a muscle tear and needed three weeks to recover, not enough time to be fit for Nigeria’s group games in Brazil on June 16, 21 and 25. The statement didn’t elaborate on the injury.
Echiejile will be replaced by Ejike Uzoenyi, who was in Nigeria’s preliminary World Cup squad but was initially cut from the final 23. Nigeria said FIFA had been informed of the intended switch.
Coach Stephen Keshi was quoted as saying there wasn’t enough time to wait for Echiejile to recover “so we have to replace him.”
Nigeria lost to the U.S. 2-1 in a final exhibition for the African champion before it starts its World Cup in just over a week against Iran in Curitiba. Nigeria also plays Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina in Group F.
However, England-based central defender Kenneth Omeruo will be fit for the game against Iran, the statement said, after an ankle injury sustained in a collision with a teammate at a training session last week. Omeruo had a scan on the ankle on Saturday.