…Iheanacho, Ndidi set to make history with Foxes
Saturday’s (today) FA Community Shield match against Manchester City will take place exactly 50 years after Leicester City won this trophy for the only time in their history.
On August 7, 1971, Leicester won the traditional pre-season curtain-raiser, the Charity Shield (renamed the Community Shield in 2002) when they beat Liverpool 1-0.
The number of Nigerian players to have won the prestigious English FA Community Shield could swell to seven if current FA Cup winners Leicester City defeat Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley.
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Former Super Eagles stars Daniel Amokachi, Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro, Mikel Obi and Alex Iwobi are the Nigerians to have lifted the Community Shield in the past and the duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi could join the elite list if they help the Foxes overcome The Citizens.
Former Wimbledon star, John Fashanu, says there’s the possibility of a ‘miracle’ happening again when FA Cup winners Leicester City battle favourites and Premier League champions Manchester City in their FA Community Shield tie on Saturday.
A magnificent long-range strike from Youri Tielemans gave The Foxes their first FA Cup triumph over Chelsea at Wembley on May 12, in front of the largest crowd in England since March 2020, to set up the clash with City for the 2021/22 season curtain-raiser.
Speaking with Saturday PUNCH, Fashanu said he was confident that Leicester’s Nigerian duo Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi would replicate their last season form to help Brendan Rodgers side emerged winners.
He said, “This is a great stage for our Nigerian brothers to do what they always do and play with pride.
“I believe Manchester City are in for an upset. If we go back to 1988 when Wimbledon were relatively unknown, we beat Liverpool 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Miracles happen in football and I think this weekend’s game is going to see another miracle.”
Fashanu added, “Both players (Iheanacho and Ndidi) were in fantastic form last season and I think they can even do better on Saturday and the whole of the incoming season. They’ve played some of the biggest clubs in the world and this stage is no longer new to them to come out and show us what they got, show us how proud they are to be Nigerians. I will like the score to be 2-0 in favour of Leicester City.”
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers is faced with a lot of injury crisis.
Asked who would not be available to face Manchester City at Wembley, Rodgers said, “The guys who haven’t been involved over the course of pre-season, the likes of Papy, Jonny, and James Justin. James Justin is coming along very well but of course is still a few months away.
“Timothy Castagne trained for the first time with the squad which is great news for us. He’s physically ready and in a good place but he had his mask on today and trained with the squad, but won’t be available for the game. Hopefully, with confidence in training, he won’t be too far away.”
Pep Guardiola has confirmed that new signing Jack Grealish will be on the bench for Saturday’s clash with Leicester City, with the midfielder not yet fit enough to start.
He said, “He’s not ready to start [tomorrow] at all. He was one week training alone but he’ll travel with us tomorrow to settle in the team and with meetings. He’ll be on the bench. After, we will see what happens but in the beginning? No way.”