BY BOLAJI OKUNOLA
Nigeria’s latest invitee to the Super Eagles, Olu Aina, will have to play the remaining Premier League fixtures of Chelsea to be to be eligible for an English Premiership League medal as the club is set to be crowned.
By the book, a player must play a minimum of five league matches to get a championship medal.
It used to be 10 matches before it was lowered to five in the 2012/13 season. Olu Aina has featured in just two games for Chelsea this season.
The first was on October 15 when he made his Premier League debut in a tie with Leicester City when he came in as substitute for compatriot and goal scorer, Victor Moses.
He is not alone among the players who are at risk of missing medals. In the same situations are Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake, Kenedy, Charly Musonda and another player with Nigerian descent, Dominic Ayodele Solanke.
But some other players who left the club in the January transfer window are eligible to collect medals in the very likely Chelsea’ s victory which even loom large this Friday. Such players include Oscar and Branislav Ivanovic. They made nine and 13 appearances respectively before leaving Chelsea.
There is however hope for Olu Aina and some others. The Premier League will give the club 40 winners’ medal to be shared among the players and staff. The club can give its players unofficial medal.
Antonio Conte has the option of fielding the fringe players, even as late substitutes, to make them legitimate medal winners. He has fielded just 23 players so far in the 35 of the projected 38 league matches.