Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Stephen Keshi has invited 24 home-based professionals and 18 overseas-based players to camp ahead of next month’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Malawi in Calabar.
Only five of the 24 home boys will eventually join the 18 overseas-based stars for the big game, as well as for the international friendly against the Etalons of Burkina Faso in Kaduna on Tuesday, 10th September.
Usual suspects, goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim, defenders Azubuike Egwuekwe, Solomon Kwambe and Benjamin Francis, as well as midfielders Sunday Mba and forward Muhammad Gambo headline the home boys’ contingent. Defensive pillar Godfrey Oboabona has been called, but will come in as an overseas-based professional if he is able to conclude his transfer to Rizespor of Turkey in a few days.
All 24 home boys are expected at the Bolton White Apartments, Abuja on Sunday, 24th August, while the 18 Europe-based stars are expected to arrive unfailingly in Calabar on Monday, 2nd September.
“We are calling up 24 home boys in order to be able to identify new players for the 2014 African Nations Championship, for which we have already qualified,” said Keshi.
Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide, defenders Efe Ambrose and Elderson Echiejile, midfielders John Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi and Victor Moses and forwards Emmanuel Emenike, Ahmed Musa and Brown Ideye top the list of the Europe-based.
Two-goal hero against South Africa in last week’s Nelson Mandela Challenge, Uche Nwofor retains his slot while Spain-based midfielder Nosa Igiebor returns for the first time since the Africa Cup of
Nations finals. England-based Shola Ameobi and Lokomotiv Moscow’s Obinna Nsofor also return.
Nigeria, on nine points, need only to avoid defeat against seven-pointer Malawi at the U. J. Esuene Stadium on 7th September, to reach the 10-team final elimination round of the African qualifying race for next year’s showpiece in Brazil.
The friendly against the Etalons at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium three days later brings together the two teams that battled for the Africa Cup of Nations trophy in Soccercity, Johannesburg on February 10.
Nigeria won 1-0 that day.
Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy);
Nnamdi Oduamadi (AC Milan, Italy); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kyiv,
Ukraine); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Emmanuel Emenike
(Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Obinna Nsofor (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia);
Uche Nwofor (VVV Venlo, Netherlands)
Midfielders: Sunday Mba (Enugu Rangers); Solomon Jabason (Akwa
United); Olufemi Oladapo (Shooting Stars); Etebo Oghene (Warri
Wolves); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Moses Orkuma (Lobi Stars)
Forwards: Muhammad Gambo (Kano Pillars); Ifeanyi Edeh (Enyimba FC);
Mbah Ezekiel (Akwa United); Barnabas Imenger (Lobi Stars); Izu Azuka
(Sunshine Stars); Dimgba Stanley (Kwara United); Osadaiye Joseph