Mikel Obi Missing as Simon, Success Return for Libya Duels

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AFCON QUALIFIER

Femi Solaja

For the second time since the World Cup finals in Russia, Super Eagles Captain, John Mikel Obi will be missing in action when Nigeria takes on Libya in the crucial AfricanCup of Nations qualifying matches this month.

In the list made available yesterday ahead of the back-to-back matches, the Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr invited in-form Ahmed Musa and 23 other players for duels against Libya’s Mediterranean Knights.

The team’s captain had earlier missed the last match in Seychelles mid-last month which Nigeria won 3-0 away to revive the team’s chance of qualification after a disastrous 0-2 loss at home last year to South Africa.

Meanwhile, Arsenal FC of England forward Alex Iwobi (who scored the goal against Zambia that qualified Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the same venue a year ago), will return alongside Italy –based duo William Ekong and Olaoluwa Aina. All three missed the 3-0 win over Seychelles in Mahe last month due to injury.

Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa is the only home –based professional.

China –based forward Odion Ighalo and Russia –based defender Bryan Idowu are also among the pack that has been called to hunt for the six maximum points against Group E leaders Libya in the Matchday 3 and 4 games. Nigeria host the first leg at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Saturday, 13th October with the return scheduled for the 18,000 –capacity Stade Taïeb Mhiri in the city of Sfax, Tunisia on Tuesday, 16th October.

Also back is effervescent winger Moses Simon (edged out of the World Cup party by injury). Former junior international Isaac Success is called but Italy –based Simeon Nwankwo, who was in Seychelles and scored against Liberia in a friendly last month, is omitted. 2015 U17 World Cup –winning captain Kelechi Nwakali is also overlooked.

All invited players are to report in the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, 8thOctober 2018.

THE FULL LIST

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

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr FC, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England)