Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has named Mikel Obi, goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa; defenders Abdullahi Shehu, Elderson Echiejile and Leon Balogun but it is debutant Kano Pillars striker Junior Lokosa that underlines the opportunity available to all as the countdown to Russia 2018 World Cup continues.
The attacker is the current highest goal scorer in the Nigerian league. There had been quite some clamour to give the player a chance to compete the long list of strikers from abroad.
The provisional list also has midfielders Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses in Nigeria’s 30-man provisional list for the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
There are also Spain-based goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Joel Obi and John Ogu and forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi.
Chelsea wingback Moses was Nigeria’s top scorer in the qualifying campaign with three goals, while captain Obi, Iwobi, Simon and Iheanacho weighed in with two goals each.
All invited players have been told to report at the Le Meridien Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo on Monday, 21st May. Uyo, as home ground, was the conquering terrain for the Super Eagles during the qualifying series.
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, The Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Brian Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (UD Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Joel Obi (Torino FC, Italy); Mikel Agu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Nwankwo Simeon (Crotone FC, Italy); Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars)