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Victor Boniface Aims for AFCON Debut as Bayer Leverkusen Faces Player Absences

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By  Milcah  Tanimu

Bayer Leverkusen forward Victor Boniface is harboring dreams of making his debut in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for Nigeria in January. However, his German club is grappling with the reality of missing several key African stars, including Boniface, during the tournament scheduled from January 13 to February 11 in Ivory Coast.

Boniface, along with Nigerian teammate Nathan Tella, is among Leverkusen’s potential absentees for AFCON. Other impacted players include Odilon Kossounou (Ivory Coast), Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso), and Amine Adli (Morocco).

In the aftermath of Leverkusen’s 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, Boniface expressed his eagerness to represent Nigeria in the prestigious tournament, stating, “It is the dream of every football player from Nigeria to represent their country and win a trophy for the country. So, we’re looking forward to the next AFCON.”

Despite the players’ enthusiasm, Leverkusen’s management is concerned about the timing of the competition. CEO Fernando Carro is reportedly considering legal action to prevent the players from participating in AFCON. Leverkusen’s sporting director, Simon Rolfes, acknowledged the challenges posed by the tournament’s timing but emphasized the club’s pride in having many national team players.

Rolfes stated, “We have to deal with this. We have a really good squad, and I think we can handle this situation, but it is not ideal. But in life, there are some situations where you have to deal with this, and we will do.”

Nigeria’s provisional squad for AFCON is expected to be submitted to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on December 14, with the final squad list to be released shortly before the tournament’s commencement. The potential absence of key players poses a significant challenge for Leverkusen as they aim for success in domestic and international competitions.

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