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Coy about Awoniyi’s release for the Lesotho and Zimbabwe games, Forest manager Cooper hinted at 2026 WCQ

Coy about Awoniyi’s release for the Lesotho and Zimbabwe games, Forest manager Cooper hinted at 2026 WCQ

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has cast doubt on the availability of Taiwo Awoniyi for Nigeria’s upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

Awoniyi recently returned to action for the Tricky Trees following a short-term injury layoff.

The 26-year-old came on as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool last weekend.

Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro is expected to include the striker in his squad for games against the Crocodiles and Warriors.

Cooper is, however, not certain he will allow Awoniyi to travel down to Nigeria for the qualifiers.

“The question of international duty [for Awoniyi] is a conversation for next week,” Cooper told the Nottingham Post.

“At the moment, we are just focusing on what we might be able to get out of him this weekend [against Aston Villa].”

The Super Eagles will face Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio International, Uyo, on Thursday, November 16.

The three-time African champions will then take on Zimbabwe four days later.

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