CENTRAL African Republic will be without their best player when they face Nigeria in key Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers this week, it has been revealed.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has been ruled out of the double-header for unclear reasons, the Central African News Agency reported on Monday night.
Central African Republic head coach Raoul Savoy confirmed Kondogbia would be unavailable for the ties in Lagos on Thursday and Douala, Cameroon on Sunday, but he did not give specific reasons.
Savoy only said Kondogbia’s exclusion had nothing to do with fitness issues, as the French-born midfielder was involved last week when Atletico Madrid defeated AC Milan in the Champions League.
“For these games Geoffrey Kondogbia is not with us for some reasons I don’t want to explain here,” Savoy told the Central African News Agency.
“We are going to play without him and the players they know that they have to do the best in the field.”
The coach is however confident that his side can still give the Super Eagles a tough time without Kondogbia in the team.
“When he’s back we will of course be better, but for now we have to do without him, for now he’s not in the team, then we have to adapt ourselves and the players know that they have to do the job without him.”
Kondogbia, who made his Central African Republic debut in 2018 after switching from France, has played eight times for the Africans, his last appearance coming in the 5-0 friendly defeat to Rwanda in June.
The 28-year-old joined Atletico Madrid in November 2020 from Valencia and helped them to the LaLiga title.
He has previously played for Lens, Sevilla, Monaco and Inter Milan.