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AFCON 2019: Super Eagles Coach Rules Out New Players From Squad

Ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, AFCON in Egypt, Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr said he is not considering bringing in new players to bolster his squad.

The three-time African champions are returning to the tournament after missing back-to-back editions in 2015 and 2017.

They won the competition during their last appearance in 2013 in South Africa.

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Rohr disclosed that despite having goalkeeping concerns- with first-choice Francis Uzoho struggling for regular football this season, he is not ready to call up another goalkeeper.

“We have a little challenge because our young goalkeeper Uzoho has not really played at his club this season,” Rohr told BBC Sport.

“Uzoho made one mistake in the last qualifier (against Seychelles) but we gave him a chance with the U-23 side and it was good for his confidence.

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“Daniel Akpeyi is playing now for a big team in South Africa and doing very well. Our third goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa too is good, so we can work harder with them.

“We have a good spirit as a team since the World Cup, so there’s no time to bring in new players,” Rohr said.

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The Eagles have struggled to fill the void created by the shock retirement of the country’s most capped player, goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in 2015, and the premature exit of his replacement Carl Ikeme over health reason.

A lack of experience has been highlighted as a weakness but Rohr, who led Gabon to the last eight of the 2012 Nations Cup on home soil, is focusing on turning his young team into a major force in North Africa this summer.

“We can work on every aspect to improve the team, that is why we have the friendly matches,” he added.

“We qualified without two of our most experienced players in Obi Mikel and Victor Moses. I know what pressure is because I have experienced it with Gabon as hosts in 2012 – so this (challenge) is nothing new.

“For the World Cup, our (Nigeria Football Federation) president said we could go to the semi-finals but we saw what happened – now in Egypt he says we have to win it.

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“We work now to make a great tournament, then we take it from there.”

The Eagles will start their 2019 AFCON campaign in Group B with Guinea, debutants Madagascar and Burundi. The tournament will take place from June 21 to July 19.

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