Tianjin Teda of China midfielder, John Mikel Obi and Trabzonspor of Turkey’s Eddy Ogenyi Onazi will both miss next month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa, after they were left out of the Super Eagles’ list of invitees.
Footballlive.ng gathered that the much talked about return of Mikel to the Eagles’ mainframe has not materialised after all, while Onazi will miss his third straight game, after injury knocked him out of the past two Afirca Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya.
In effect, Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia striker, Ahmed Musa will once again captain the Eagles, after he was named along with 22 other players for next month’s 2019 AFCON qualifying match in Johannesburg.
Despite some fresh names in the squad and a trio of home-based players also listed, Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has kept faith with the core that sunk Libya’s Mediterranean Knights over two legs earlier this month.
A statement by the communications department of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Monday further disclosed that the same group of invitees will prosecute a friendly Uganda three days later at Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
Chile 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup winner and top scorer, Victor Osimhen returns after a long time out, with his pal from the same glorious Golden Eaglets’ squad, Samuel Chukwueze getting a first senior Nigeria call-up.
Vitoria Setubal of Port midfielder, Mikel Ndubuisi Agu, who played some part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, and FC Ifeanyiubah defender, Adeleye Olamilekan Aniyikaye are also recalled.
Francis Odinaka Uzoho , Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa are the only invited goalkeepers; while Olaoluwa Aina, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Aderemi Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo are among eight defenders.
Agu, Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ugochukwu Ogu are the only invited midfielders, while Musa, Odion Jude Ighalo, Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi are among nine forwards, as Henry Onyekuru and Junior Lokosa join five standby players.
Nigeria top Group E of the series with nine points, and will need victory away to second placed, eight point South Africa at FNB Stadium in the city of Johannesburg on Saturday, 17th November to seal an early ticket to AFCON 2019 in Cameroon.
The Eagles will on 18th November fly from Johannesburg to Asaba for the friendly with the Cranes of Uganda on 20th November.
The full list of invitees, who are expected to report in Asaba on 12th November, has Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Elche, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba); and Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa).
The defenders are: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy); Adeleye Aniyikaye (FC IfeanyiUbah); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); William Troost-Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes, Spain); and Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany)
Only three midfielders invited for the games are: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); and Mikel Ndubuisi Agu (Vitoria Setubal FC, Portugal)
The invited forwards include: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi, Belgium); and Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China).
The other forwards are Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux, France); Isaac Success (Watford, England); and Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain).
Those on standby: Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); Nyima Nwagua (Kano Pillars); Sunday Adetunji (Enyimba); Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars).