Mikel, Moses, Ighalo, 20 others for Zambia
Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up 23 players for the all-important 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Chipolopolo of Zambia in Uyo on Oct. 7.
A statement from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja listed team skipper Mikel Obi among the call-ups. China-based forward Odion Ighalo and England-based Victor Moses, who were prominent in the team against Cameroon earlier this month, retained their places.
South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi are however returning to the team after injury knocked them out of the sessions against the African champions earlier this month. Defenders Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, William Ekong and Elderson Echiejile also made the list, while midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo were also included. Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Anthony Nwakaeme also earned call-ups. Portugal-based goalkeeper Dele Alampasu dropped to the standby sector, alongside wing back Tyronne Ebuehi, with two home-based professionals, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Afeez Aremu, joining them.
Both Ifeanyi and Aremu were part of the Super Eagles B team which finished as runners-up at the just-ended WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana.
All invited players are expected to report in Uyo on Monday.
Nigeria host Zambia on Oct. 7 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, with a minimum win needed to guarantee them a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance.
Qualification will mean the Eagles are landing in Russia for next summer’s event ahead of the final qualifying match away to Algeria in November.
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 U