Kelechi Nwakali can’t travel with his country to the World Cup this summer, despite calls for him to go after an impressive performance against Atletico Madrid.
Earlier this week, Nigeria played a friendly match against Atletico. Nwakali made his debut for the country’s senior side, and scored a fantastic goal to give them the lead. The 19-year-old side stepped a challenge, then curled into the net from range, past a diving Jan Oblak.
Arsenal midfielder Kelechi Nwakali scoring a long range goal against Atleti in a friendly match with Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/dpMYCHtm6k
— AFCPressWatch (@AFCPressWatch2) May 22, 2018
Some publications asked if the goal was enough to help him crash the World Cup party, but it seems it isn’t. ScoreNigeria looked into the rules, and they say that the final list of 23 is limited to the players on the ‘release list’.
The release list, or provisional squad as it’s commonly known, is the 30-man list each country puts out before deciding on their final 23. Unfortunately, Nigeria already submitted theirs without Nwakali on it.
Even if the youngster made the 30, he’d still only be able to take someone else’s place in the final 23 if they suffered an injury. It seems Nwakali will have to wait a little longer for his first taste of tournament football with the Nigeria first-team.
Nwakali spent this season on loan with VVV-Venlo and MVV Maastricht. To find out how he and Arsenal’s other loanees got on this season, click ‘Next’