Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh carried out his threat by excluding some notable players not playing regularly for their clubs from the 18 man list of foreign professionals invited for the 2017 Afcon qualifiers.
The major casualties this time around are Nigerian players in the English Barclay Premier League such as Chelsea’s duo of John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo of Watford FC, West Broms’ attacking pair of Victor Anichebe and Brown Ideye for their lack of playing times in their respective clubs.
While bench-warmers in the EPL were omitted from the list and other regulars in their clubs so far this season made the list, goal-keeper of English championship club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Carl Ikeme got a surprise invitation from Oliseh for a possible debut for the national team.
Coach Oliseh also recalled strikers, Emmanuel Emenike, Anthony Ujah; and midfielders Lukman Haruna and Obiora Nwankwo. Académica de Coimbra’s Nwankwo has been overlooked since the country’s Nations Cup win in 2013, while Anzhi Makhachkala’s Haruna has not played for his country since the 2010 World Cup.
Captain and first choice goal-keeper, Vincent Enyeama tops the list of the 18 foreign-based players expected to team up with 23 Nigeria-based players by 31 August in Abuja for the final team selection phase.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) spokesman, Ademola Olajire has hailed the team list as a fulfilment of promise made by Coach Oliseh to invite only players playing regularly at top club level to the Super Eagles. “This is a new opportunity for some old players as well players who have been on the fringes of the squad. The locally-based players are already in Abuja, now the preparations can truly begin for Mr Oliseh and his players,” Oliajire said.
18-man foreign based players list:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille, France); Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England)
Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor, Turkey); William Troost Ekong (FK Haugesund, Norway); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, Turkey)
Midfielders: Joel Obi (Torina FC, Italy); Izunna Ernest Uzochukwu (FC Amkar Perm, Russia); Obiora Nwankwo (Coimbra FC, Portugal); Lukman Haruna (Anzhi, Russia); Rabiu Ibrahim (AS Trencin, Slovakia)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Emem Eduok (Esperance, Tunisia); Emmanuel Emenike (Al Ain, UAE); Anthony Ujah (Werder Bremen, Germany); Sylvester Igboun (FC UFA, Russia); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium.
By Olisemeka Obeche