As expected, only a marginal change was made in the list of 23 players invited by Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, for next week’s all-important 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying showdown against the Chipolopolo of Zambia in Uyo.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Chippa United of South Africa goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi,
made their return to the squad expected to seal Nigeria’s passage to Russia 2018 with a win on October 7 in Uyo.
Thigh strain knocked out the 21-year-old Iwobi from the double header against African champions Cameroon. Akpeyi on the other hand, after his not too elegant performance against South Africa in the AFCON 2019 qualifier in Uyo, has been battling to regain his form.
Also on Rohr’s list are the usual suspects including skipper John Mikel Obi and forward Odion Ighalo (both based in China) and England-based Victor Moses.
Portugal-based goalkeeper Dele Alampasu dropped down to the standby sector alongside wing back Tyronne Ebuehi.
The list also includes defenders Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, William Ekong and Elderson Echiejile. The midfielders are; Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo with Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, and Anthony Nwakaeme making up the strike force Rohr has listed to get the job done.
Two home-based professionals, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Afeez Aremu, who were part of the home-based Super Eagles that finished as runners-up at the just concluded WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana, are on the standby list but will join the team’s training sessions in Uyo.
Nigeria will welcome Zambia to the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo with the minimum win to guarantee a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance in Russia next year summer ahead of the final qualifying match away to Algeria in November.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said yesterday that all invited players are expected to report in Uyo on Monday, October 2.
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Ayodele Ajiboye (Plateau United FC)
Defenders: William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Elderson Echiejile (Sivasspor FC, Turkey); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Chang Chun-Yatai, China); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Anthony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
STANDBY: Dele Alampasu (Cesarense FC, Portugal); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Afeez Aremu (Akwa United); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United).