Mikel, Joel Obi, Omeruo, 25 Others for Poland, Serbia Friendlies


Duro Ikhazuagbe

After weeks of speculations on players to make Gernot Rohr’s squad for the World Cup 2018 build up matches against Poland and Serbia, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), yesterday unveiled a 28-man list with Skipper John Mikel Obi as arrowhead.

Apart from usual suspects like Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi, Williams- Troost Ekong, Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Elderson Echiejile, the Super Eagles coach also recalled former junior international defender, Kenneth Omeruo and injury prone Joel Obi to strengthen the midfield.

Also, home-based goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who stood between the sticks for the very crucial last four World Cup qualifying games (home-and-away to Cameroon, home to Zambia and away to Algeria), his colleagues in the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) squad that finished as runners up to host Morocco, defender Stephen Eze and forward Gabriel Okechukwu, are also handed opportunities.

The Franco-German gaffer also extended invites to Deportivo La Coruna’s Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi of Chippa United in the South African topflight.

Russia-based Brian Idowu, who scored against Argentina on his debut in a friendly in Krasnodar in November last year, and Al Ahly of Egypt’s Junior Ajayi, who earned an Olympic bronze in Brazil in 2016, are also called.

Three-time African champions Nigeria will trade tackles with the Bialo-Czerwoni (White and Red) or Eagles, as the senior national team of Poland is known, at the 43,000-capacity Stadium Wroclaw on Friday, 23rd March 2018.
Four days later, the Eagles will take to the pitch against Serbia at The Hive, London – home ground of Barnet FC and London Bees.

These are the first two in a list of six friendly encounters planned for the Super Eagles by the NFF ahead of the 21st FIFA World Cup finals in the Russian this summer.


Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Gabriel Okechukwu (Akwa United)