Coach José Santos Peseiro has invited captain Ahmed Musa, goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye, defender William Ekong, midfielder Alex Iwobi and forward Moses Simon among others for next weekend’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in Monrovia.
In-form forward Victor Osimhen, whose 31 goals in all competitions for SSC Napoli this season helped the Italian giants to the semi finals of the UEFA Champions League and to their first Italian Serie A title in 33 years, tops the strikers’ list. Osimhen has also recently been honoured with the National Award of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the Government of Nigeria, and has received a special ball and jersey from world football-ruling body, FIFA for his magnificent season.
Home-based goaltenders Victor Sochima and Olorunleke Ojo are also called, as well as Rivers United defender Ebube Duru and Bendel Insurance FC midfielder Divine Nwachukwu.
Defenders William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Zaidu Sanusi, Calvin Bassey, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Bright Osayi-Samuel are in, with midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Frank Onyeka, and forwards Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Kelechi Iheanacho also in the 23-man roster.
The Super Eagles are top of their qualification group with nine points out of four matches, followed by Guinea Bissau’s Wild Dogs who have seven points. Leone Stars, who gave the Eagles a tough run in Abuja on Day 1 of the qualification series before succumbing 2-1, are on five points. Sao Tome and Principe, who play the Super Eagles on the final day of the series in September, are bottom with only one point.
Nigeria and Sierra Leone clash at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia on Sunday, 18 June, as Sierra Leone do not have any stadium in their country approved for international matches.
ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:
Goalkeepers: Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel); Victor Sochima (Rivers United); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC)
Defenders: William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Calvin Bassey (Ajax FC, The Netherlands); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany); Chidiebube Duru (Rivers United); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey)
Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Divine Nwachukwu (Bendel Insurance); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)
Forwards: Moses Simon (Nantes FC, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor K, Turkey)
Federation Cup: Grand Finale now for Wednesday, 21 June
The Grand Finale of this year’s NFF-Tingo Federation Cup Competition slated for the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba has now been moved to Wednesday, 21 June 2023.
“A couple of issues have come up for us to deal with and we are doing that speedily. The Grand Finale will still take place in Asaba and we are determined to make a showpiece of the event,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, said on Friday.
As announced previously, the day will begin with the women’s final, between Cup holders Bayelsa Queens and multi-titlists Rivers Angels, which is billed to commence at 2pm. The men’s final, between 1978 champions Bendel Insurance of Benin and multi-titlists Rangers International of Enugu, will kick off at 5pm.
Bayelsa Queens are the defending champions of the competition, having overwhelmed FC Robo Queens of Lagos in the final of the 2021 competition at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City.
In their last visit to the Stephen Keshi Stadium for the Federation Cup final, Enugu Rangers came from three goals down in the first 45 minutes to draw level and defeat Kano Pillars on penalties in the 2018 men’s Final.