Super Eagles gaffer Gernot Rohr says captain John Mikel Obi will decide when he wants to return to the team.
The China-based midfielder has not featured for the Eagles since leading the team to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The 31-year-old has once again been left of the team to face South Africa and the Cranes of Uganda next month.
In his absence, the team have performed brilliantly, prompting former Super Eagles forward Victor Ikpeba to suggest ‘he is no longer a must’.
“Mikel told me that he will tell me when he will be ready to come back. He didn’t tell me yet. So I wait,” the Get tactician told KweseESPN.
“I hope that we can go with him to AFCON and win it for him.”
Trabzonspor midfielder Ogenyi Onazi is another player omitted from the squad for the games after his injury problem ahead of the doubleheader against Libya in October.
“Onazi had a problem with injury. He left Uyo before the match against Libya [earlier this month].
“I have to be aware of the health of our players. We didn’t want to do injections on Achilles tendons before the games.”
A win for Nigeria in their next game against South Africa would see them book a place in next year’s continental championship.
The tournament is scheduled to hold in Cameroon.