Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr has released his provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
As reported by PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, midfield maestro Mikel John Obi is back in the mix for the national team and he is top on the 25-man list released on Tuesday by the Super Eagles coach.
Aside Mikel, pacy winger Ahmed Musa who has been the stand-in captain in the absence of the former Chelsea star is also in the roster.
Defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Abdullahi Shehu are also in the 25-man squad to prepare for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt this summer.
Six other players are on standby.
Mikel Obi, who captained the team at the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia last year summer, has not been with the group since Nigeria’s elimination from the finals after a 1-2 defeat by Argentina in Saint Petersburg.
However, a recent meeting with Coach Rohr in the United Kingdom sealed his return to the three –time African champions, with the possibility of adding to his 85 international caps.
Rohr has largely kept faith with the Trojans who earned a ticket to the AFCON finals with a match to spare, with goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon also on the roll-call.
He has put on standby six players, among them defenders Ikouwem Utin and Valentine Ozornwafor who have also been named in Nigeria’s final 21 for the FIFA U20 World Cup starting in Poland next week.
The Franco-German tactician explained to thenff.com that he has included the two players knowing the FIFA U20 World Cup will end on June 15, six days before the first match will be played at the AFCON.
2018 FIFA World Cup defender Bryan Idowu is also on standby, alongside Portugal –based Mikel Agu and Egypt –based Junior Ajayi, and home –based goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai.
All invited players and officials are to report at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Asaba, on June 2, ahead of the friendly with the Warriors of Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Saturday, 8th June.
The team will depart for Egypt on June 9 aboard a chartered aircraft, set up a final training camp in the city of Ismailia and tackle Africa’s number one –ranked team, Senegal, in their final pre-AFCON friendly on June 16.
Nigeria confronts Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in that order in Group B of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in four Egyptian cities.
25 EAGLES FOR AFCON 2019 CAMP
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)
Six On Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC