Despite being without a club for over four months, Ahmed Musa is top on the list of players invited by coach Gernot Rohr for this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.
In the list made public on Tuesday, Musa who is the captain of the national team was invited along with 23 others while seven players, including long-time goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, were placed on standby.
Those in the roster for the double-header against the Squirrels and Crocodiles include deputy captain William Troost-Ekong, returning goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Victor Osimhen.
Nigeria currently tops the Group E log with eight points (one ahead of Benin Republic and five more than third-placed Sierra Leone). The Eagles will tackle the Squirrels at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on Saturday, March 27, and will lock horns with the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos three days later. Both are the concluding games of the AFCON qualifying series.
Also included are Enyimba FC goalkeeper John Noble, defenders Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, and forwards Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, and Samuel Chukwueze.
The versatile Abdullahi Shehu is listed as a midfielder this time and there is a first senior call for Spain –based forward Sadiq Umar.
Rohr, who has steered Nigeria to two major tournaments-the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a game to spare. The Super Eagles could have earned their ticket to the finals in Cameroon before kick-off in Porto Novo, should Lesotho and Sierra Leone end their encounter in Maseru in a stalemate. The result would be known before kick-off in Porto Novo.
The 23-man Super Eagles list
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (APOEL Nicosia, Cyprus); John Noble (Enyimba FC); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, The Netherlands)
Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasaray FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Abdullahi Shehu (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Unattached); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Sadiq Umar (Almeria FC, Spain); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (FC Girondins Bordeaux, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France)
Stand-by: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray FC, Turkey); Peter Olayinka (Slavia Praha, Czech Republic); Terem Moffi (FC Lorient, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Michael Olise (Reading FC, England); Adekunle Adeleke (Abia Warriors).
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