Super Eagles boss, Stephen Keshi has kept to his promise of naming his home-based professionals that will join their foreign counterpart for the weekend’s Nations Cup final round qualifier against the Lone Star of Liberia in Calabar.
The list was announced to the players at lunch time after they were again held to a 1-1 draw in a second tune game against Pro League side FC Abuja, in a match played at the Practice Pitch of the Abuja National Stadium.
The lucky seven are home-based Eagles skipper, Chigozie Agbim of Warri Wolves and his teammate, gangling Azubuike Egwueke, Sunshine Stars skipper, Godfrey Oboabona, also made the cut, same for Enyimba’s Henry Uche, Benjamin Francis of Heartland , hardworking Kano Pillars central defender, Umar Zango and dare-devil Rangers winger Ejike Uzoenyi.
It leaves 15 home based players stranded and they have since left camp, but Keshi made them a firm promise even as he questioned their fitness as a result of the break of the Nigeria Premier League; “keep yourself busy and fit football wise because we have a friendly soon and we have other qualifiers that you will again be called upon to come and fight for a shirts."
Before the announcement, the players showed some lethargy when they took on a more forceful FC Abuja, Saturday morning in a game that spoils were evenly shared, which led the technical crew to order for training after the game to jerk up the players’ fitness level.
After near misses by Saviour Fidelis, Sanni Sanusi and Philip Asuquo, Tony Okpotu finally rose to the occassion when he nodded home a well taken angular from Asuquo in the 37th minute of the game.
FC Abuja responded through Awolo Shuaibu and midfield anchor, Peter Adah, but the half ended 1-0, in favour of the Eagles.
The Eagles continued their wastefulness in front of goal when centre referee Aniete Okoh, restarted the game with Ejike Uzoenyi, Brendon Ogbu and Sunday Mba, the fresh culprits.
It was thus no surprise when rampaging Awolo of the Abuja side connected an Adah cross with his head to even scores in the 80th minute.
Keshi said he was not surprised at his side’s display, as most of them were called back from holidays but advised them as professional footballers they must never play with their level of fitness. The team will depart for Calabar, venue of the match on Monday.
The dropped players are: Akpeyi Daniel-Heartland,Stanley Okoronkwo-Sharks, Kalu Orji-Heartlan, Edzekiel Bassey-Lobi Stars, Kingsley Udo-Heartland, Mba Sunday-Warri Wolves, Christian Ofili-ABS, Kwara, Jabason Solomon-Akwa United, Sanusi Sanni-Gombe United, Philip Asuquo-3SC, Brendon Ogbu-Heartland, Anthony Okpotu-Lobi Stars, Ubale Manir-Kano Pillars, Ohanduku Gomo-Sharks, Fidelis Favour-Nasarawa United