Nigeria’s leading marksman in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series, Victor Osimhen, is top on the list of 24 players officially invited by coach Gernot Rohr for the upcoming games against Sierra Leone.
Osimhen was missing in the friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia on health grounds but the Napoli striker is now set for a return for national team duties. In the list released Thursday, Rohr also called up Captain Ahmed Musa, defender William Ekong, midfield enforcer Oghenekaro Etebo for November’s quick-fire double against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone. Defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun and Chidozie Awaziem, midfielder Alex Iwobi and forwards Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze and Chidera Ejuke are also called. Apart from Osimhen, the duo of Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and South Africa –based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi are also staging a return to the national team after being excused for the last friendly games. Switzerland –based goalkeeper, Sebastian Osigwe, will hope to earn his first cap for Nigeria, while defenders Kevin Akpoguma and Zaidu Sanusi, who impressed in the friendlies in Austria, have been handed opportunities to add to their caps. There are seven players on standby, including defender Abdullahi Shehu, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, midfielders Ramon Azeez and Samson Tijani, and forward Paul Onuachu. The Super Eagles take on the Leone Stars at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City on Friday, November 13, before flying to Freetown for the return game on Tuesday, November 17, at the Siaka Stevens Stadium. Players are expected to report at the Protea Hotel Emotan in Benin City on November 9. Victory in both encounters will all but guarantee Nigeria a slot at the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals holding in Cameroon.
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Sebastian Osigwe (FC Lugano, Switzerland); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Germany)
Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasaray, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Unattached); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge, Belgium); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Standby: Francis Uzoho (APOEL Nicosia, Cyprus); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria); Abdullahi Shehu (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Kelechi Nwakali (SD Huesca, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium)