The coach of the Super Eagles, Gernot Rohr on Tuesday, May 14 listed midfielder Mikel John Obi, Ahmed Musa and 23 others in a 25-man squad to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Egypt.
A statement issued by the Director of Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Ademola Olajire, said that six other players were put on standby.
It was reported that Obi, who captained the team at the FIFA World Cup finals in Russia last summer, had 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 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.
“Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon are 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 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 Sunday, June 2, ahead of the friendly with the Warriors of Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Saturday, 8th June,” the NFF official said.
He added that the team will depart for Egypt on Sunday, June 9, aboard a chartered aircraft, for the final training camp in the city of Ismailia and tackle Africa’s number one–ranked team, Senegal in their final pre-AFCON friendly on Sunday, June 16.
Nigeria has been drawn in Group B with Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in the tournament holding from June 21 to July 19.