Wednesday Mar 23, 2022. 14:00
Lorient midfielder Innocent Bonke insists he feels no pressure in replacing Wilfred Ndidi for Nigeria’s crunch World Cup playoff double-header against Ghana.
Ndidi was forced to withdraw from Augustine Eguavoen’s squad for the two-legged qualifiers after sustaining a knee injury during Leicester’s Europa Conference League clash with Rennes last Thursday.
Bonke, who has won two caps for the Super Eagles, was overlooked by Eguavoen when the head coach named his initial 32-man roster, but received a late call-up on Sunday in favour of those players on the standby list.
The 26-year-old declared himself ready to face the Black Stars on Friday and claimed he isn’t under any pressure to fill Ndidi’s shoes.
“It was a late invitation but I have to honour it,” he told reporters after Tuesday’s training session. “The fact I am going to replace one of the most important players in the team, I don’t have any pressure about that.
“I am here to do my job. The game is very, very important for Nigerians and for we as players, we are going to give our best so we come out victorious at the end of the day.”
Asked whether starting in Kumasi would come as a shock to him, Bonke replied: “I won’t be surprised, I am training, focused and ready to take the chance.”