Not physically ready: Trabzonspor coach admits Onuachu is not match fit after bench role at AFCON

Published: February 26, 2024
Not physically ready: Trabzonspor coach admits Onuachu is not match fit after bench role at AFCON

Trabzonspor manager Abdullah Avcı has revealed that Paul Onuachu and Nicolas Pépé are not in tiptop condition after their participation in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. 


Having spent roughly one month with their national teams, the Super Eagles center forward and Elephants winger have rejoined their club in Turkey. 


A late inclusion in the Super Eagles' Africa Cup of Nations squad as a replacement for Sadiq Umar, Onuachu was starved of playing opportunities during the tournament in Ivory Coast with only five minutes of game time spread across four games. 


On the other hand,  Pépé started two of the seven matches played by Ivory Coast at the 2023 AFCON and was a non-playing substitute in the semifinal and final. 


The FC Ebedei product has not made an impact off the bench in back-to-back matches against Pendikspor and Adana Demirspor after returning from AFCON duty.


In quotes relayed by Gunebakis, he stated: "Onuachu and Pepe are not fully ready yet. We are talking about a period of 1 and a half months, they were not with us during this process. 

"Our fans are waiting impatiently, and so are we. I know those processes well. It passes with regeneration and tactical training. 

"They did not play a match. That's why the process is a bit tiring for us. I said this when they first came.

"The fan sentiment is that they should play as soon as they come. We could not get data in this direction from Africa. We talked to performance coaches."

Avcı is aiming to increase the playing time of both Onuachu and Pepe to improve their match fitness. 


"Today we increased the time a little. We want to evaluate according to the opponent and the match. We expect their mental and physical performance to increase as soon as possible."


Onuachu was firing on all cylinders before reporting for international duty in January, registering nine goals in seventeen appearances in the Turkish Super Lig. 





Igho Kingsley 




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