As reported exclusively by THISDAY on Tuesday, Chang Chun-Yatai forward in the Chinese Super League, Odion Ighalo, made his come back to the Super Eagles squad released yesterday to take on Cameroon in the double header FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier in Uyo and Yaounde.
The former Watford star forward did not play for Eagles in the two earlier Russia 2018 qualifier away to Zambia in Ndola and Algeria here at home in Uyo. He was away for his father’s burial when Gernot Rohr led Eagles to Zambia and seated on the bench all through the 90 minutes of the clash with the Algerians at the Nest of Champions. He last played against Tanzania in the inconsequential AFCON 2017 qualifier.
Also spot on in the THISDAY report was the invite extended to Hapoel Be’er Sheva forward in the Israeli topflight, Anthony Nwakaeme. This is the marksman’s first call up under Rohr’s watch.
The 23-man team with seven players on the wait list is led by former Chelsea midfield stalwart, John Mikel Obi who is making a return to Eagles after his surgery almost five months ago. He is in fine form for his Chinese Tianjin Teda club.
Also making a come back is Germany-based defender Leon Balogun who missed the World Cup qualifier against Algeria and the Africa Cup qualifier against South Africa due to injury.
Chelsea of England’s wing back, Victor Moses, is also back after sitting out the duel with the Bafana Bafana in June due to injury.
According to the list released by NFF’s Communication Director, Ademola Olajire, Rohr has largely kept faith with his regular army, including goalkeepers Daniel Akpeyi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Alampasu.
Defenders William Ekong, Elderson Echiejile and Abdullahi Shehu as well as midfielders Ogenyi Onazi, John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo are all listed for the battle against reigning African champions Cameroon.
Forwards like Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho form the core of the team expected to take on the Lions at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Friday, September 1, before flying to Yaounde for a quick-fire return session on Monday, September 4.
The Super Eagles are top of Africa’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group B with six points, after wins over Zambia and Algeria in their first two matches, while the Lions lie second with only two points following 1-1 draws with Algeria and Zambia.
Seven other players have been placed on standby, but any of them would be contacted to move to camp only in the case there is any issue with any player on the list of 23.
THE FULL LIST
GOALKEEPERS: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Dele Alampasu (Cesarense FC, Portugal)
DEFENDERS: William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Elderson Echiejile (Sivasspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); Ola 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: Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Henry Onyekuru (Anderlecht FC, Belgium); Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea FC, England); Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United); Stephen Eze (FC IfeanyiUbah); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United)