Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has named a 23-man squad to prosecute their double-header 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic, with some big names missing from the roster and a new name showing up.
Leicester City defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Watford midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo both miss out due to injuries suffered in recent days. There is a recall for Brentford’s all-action midfielder Frank Onyeka to the Super Eagles squad, having missed the games against Liberia and Cape Verde through COVID. Former Germany U-20 captain Kevin Akpoguma has also been recalled after being left out of the last squad.
FC Porto defender Zaidu Sanusi was dropped, as was Venezia defender Tyronne Ebuehi. Abia Warriors defender Adekunle Adeleke was the only home-based player in the squad last time around, but he misses out on this occasion.
There is a maiden call-up for Calvin Bassey Ughelumba, a 21-year-old teammate of Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun at Scottish Premier Football League champions Rangers. The left-back has impressed in his seven appearances this season for the Scottish champions across various competitions.
Here is the squad in full;
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William
Troost-Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Calvin Bassey Ughelumba (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Innocent Bonke (Malmo FF, Sweden); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Kalu (FC Girondins de Bordeaux, France); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC
Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia).
In strikers Victor Osimhen and Paul Onuachu, Nigeria is blessed with two of the most in-form strikers in all of Europe. With the quality in this Super Eagles squad, hopes are high that their result from this doubleheader against an opponent ranked 124th in the world and 31st in Africa in the FIFA rankings would be better than the two draws against Sierra Leone at this same point during the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Super Eagles will line up against Central African Republic on October 7th at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos before travelling for the away leg of the match on October 10th.