Finidi George says midfielder Ikenna Cooper will definitely start the second leg of the African Football League (AFL) quarter-final tie on Thursday after an impressive showing in the reverse fixture.

The former Sunshine Stars midfielder was introduced in the second half and put up eye-catching displays with a lot of zest as Enyimba lost 0-1 to Wydad in Uyo on Sunday.

His overall performance led to questions on why he was left on the bench and whether he would start in Casablanca, with Finidi stating categorically that the midfielder would be on the start list on Thursday.

Finidi, who is also Super Eagles assistant coach, disclosed that Cooper was recovering from an injury, hence his decision to use him as a sub, adding that there would be a few changes in the team when they face the Moroccans in Casablanca.

“I must say he (Ikenna Cooper) is a trusted player,” Finidi said.

“He had a slight recurrent injury. You can see he didn’t play our league game at home against Akwa United. Sometimes, you use the last game to really assess players that will start the next game.

“I think he is definitely going to play the next game. He’s a player that we trust. He is a player that gives us a lot, but for that reason he was on the bench.

“I think the next game is even much more important than this one. Definitely, he is going to start. I can tell you right now that he is going to start the next match, and we will make one or two changes in the squad.”


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