2019 men's AFCON: Nigerian coach names squad for qualifier against Seychelles

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigeria's trainer, Gernot Rohr, has named a squad of 24 players for next month’s qualifier away to Seychelles in Victoria on Saturday, 8 September, 2018. for the
2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will be played Cameroon.

The squad is dominated by players that represented the West African nation at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where the Super Eagles failed to progress beyond the group stage.

Missing on the list are China-based captain, John Obi Mikel, and striker Victor Moses, who recently announced his retirement from international football.

On the list are three goalkeepers, including first choice Francis Uzoho as well as Daniel Akpeyi and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, the only home-based player on the list.

According to CAF media channel, Rohr also handed debut call up to three players, namely Semi Ajayi of English Championship side, Rotherham United; Jamilu Collins of German second division side, SC Paderborn, and striker Samuel Kalu who recently moved from KAA Gent to French Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux.

Rohr, a Franco-German, said he is building on the Russia 2018 experience where the Super Eagles held the distinction as the youngest team, adding that Nigeria must ensure qualification for the 2019 AFCON after missing out of the last two editions in acrimonious manner.

“The match against Seychelles is very important and it’s a must win for us,” Rohr told CAFOnline.com

“We cannot underrate the team; they are a team from a little island but they are a team that works together as far as I know and it is not going to be easy to play against them.

“But we have some good young players in our team and I believe the experience we have at the World Cup is going to help us in the qualification for the AFCON in Cameroon.”

Drawn along South Africa, Libya and Seychelles in Group E, the Super Eagles are currently at the bottom of Group E after losing their Match Day One encounter at home 2-0 to Bafana Bafana of South Africa in June 2017.

But Rohr sounded optimistic about the chances of the three-time Africa Champions booking a ticket to Cameroon 2019, saying that they will take advantage of a new 24-team format of the foremost continental tournament.

He explained: “The AFCON is very important to Nigeria because we have not played in the last two editions. It’s good that CAF has expanded the number of teams from 16 to 24.

“Now we have to come first or second to qualify for the AFCON in Cameroon. We are going to take this match against Seychelles seriously and then we can focus on the next two matches against Libya.”

The full Squad is as follows -
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Semi Ajayi(Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Joel Obi (Chievo Verona, Italy); Kelechi Nwakali ( FCPorto, Portugal)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al-Nassar, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone, Italy); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu( Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray, Turkey).

Stand-by Players: Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Musa Muhammed (HNK Gorica; Croatia); and Blessing Eleke (FC Luzern, Switzerland)
-0- PANA VAO 30Aug2018

30 august 2018 14:13:16

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