Ita Akpan, the father of Super Eagles and Reading of England midfield discovery, Hope Akpan, has expressed sadness over the fact that his son will not play in his native Akwa Ibom International Stadium in Uyo, when the team confronts Bafana Bafana of South Africa on Wednesday.
Ita, who travelled from London along with Hope’s mother to come and catch a glimpse of their son in action said he was however happy that his son heeded his advise to play for Nigeria instead of England “I know very soon, he will be back in the team after the healing process and he will make impact in the national team with the caliber of coaches that we have in the team”, he said at the lobby of the Le Meridien Hotel in Uyo on Monday morning.
Hope is now expected to travel out of the country earlier than expected with his parents for medics at his club in England to have a second look at the injured shoulder and help in his quick recovery.
Akpan is not alone in his misery as central defence ace, Godfrey Oboabona is also out of the Bafana Bafana encounter but for a different reason. He picked up his second yellow card against Congo in the qualifiers and will therefore miss Wednesday’s encounter. “It’s sad that I won’t play but I trust my teammates to deliver the ticket to the Nations Cup” he said wryly.
Head Coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi, said it was going to be a difficult task to do without two regulars in his team but he also has hope in the remaining squad to hold their own against any squad in the world. “It would have been better to play all my regulars in this match but since it has turned out like this I expect the others to show what they can do in the face of challenges facing the team and I trust they will do very well against Bafana Bafana”.