English Premier League side Manchester City will not release Nigeria youngster Kelechi Iheanacho for next month’s African Youth Championship qualifier against Lesotho.
Iheanacho, 17, has been in superb form for City in pre-season, scoring two goals in as many matches for the EPL club’s main team.
Nigeria host Lesotho in a final qualifying match on August 15 with the return leg match a fortnight later.
“We have tried to get the release of Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidiebere Nwakali from Manchester City. We first wanted the players to join us in training camp at least two weeks to our match. City insisted on releasing them a week to the match and now they have said they won’t be releasing them at all,” said Nigeria U20 team official Aliyu Auwal Ibrahim.
“Since the match does not fall in the FIFA free window, we can’t press on with that matter.”
Both Iheanacho and Nwakali, who are expected to be offered professional contracts by the English champions later this year, had featured for the Nigeria U20s in the previous round of the qualifiers, where they defeated Tanzania 6-1 on aggregate.
Another Nigeria starlet Musa Yahaya, 16, will also not be available for the Lesotho match after his EPL side Tottenham Hotspur insisted he has been lined up for some test matches with the Spurs Academy side.
Isaac Success, who is on the books of Spanish La Liga club Granada, and Chidera Eze from FC Porto are also unlikely to feature for the Nigeria U20s.