By Izuchukwu Okosi
BARCELONA will be without the duo of Pedri and Ousmane Dembele for their 2021/2022 La Liga derby clash against Eapanyol on Saturday night.
Both players did not take part in Thursday’s training session and although the Blaugrana are expected to train again today (Friday, 19 November) it is considered not enough to guarantee their fitness.
The earliest the stars will be available if at all is Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League tie with Benfica – a must-win game for Barcelona in order to qualify for the second round of the competition.
That presents a huge selection headache for new boss Xavi Hernandez who only recently replaced Ronald Koeman.
Dani Alves who made a return to the club and unveiled in the week is however not expected to play until January 2022 due to La Liga’s registration procedures.
The match will kickoff at 9pm Nigerian time on Saturday.
Despite his constant injury woes, Dembele in particular has been linked with a move to the English Premier League with Liverpool and Newcastle United touted in the English media as possible destinations.
Barcelona are ninth in the La Liga Santander table with 17 points from 12 games albeit they have a game on hand.
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Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.