Rangers hoping to keep Nigerian stars for crunch Celtic clash

Rangers hoping to keep Nigerian stars for crunch Celtic clash
Brondby's Kevin Mensah (left) and Rangers' Joe Aribo battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League

by Staff Reporter

Tuesday Oct 26, 2021. 12:00

Scottish Premiership champions Rangers are set to negotiate with the Nigeria Football Federation over possibly keeping three Super Eagles stars for their ‘Old Firm’ clash with Celtic on January 2 – just a week before the start of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.

‘Gers are set to travel to Celtic Park to face off against their age-old rivals, but they could be without Joe Aribo, Leon Balogun, and Calvin Bassey, who are all likely to be called up by Nigeria for the AFCON.

The Daily Record reports that Ibrox chiefs are applying for special dispensation to allow their three players to join the squad late.

Rangers hope to strike a deal with the NFF that will allow the trio to join up with Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles later than the December 27th date given by FIFA.

The 2022 AFCON in Cameroon is set to take place between the 9th of January and the 6th of February.

The impact of the tournament on Rangers is also set to be limited by the Winter Break in Scotland but will see up to five matches being impacted if the Super Eagles go deep into the competition.

Rangers are set to play in the Scottish Cup fourth round on January 22nd, whilst Premiership matches against Livingston, Ross County and Hearts take place during the tournament.

Should Nigeria go deep in the tournament, then it is also unlikely those players would be involved in the Scottish Premiership clash against Hibs at Ibrox on February 9th.

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