Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr Wednesday released a list of 28 invited players ahead of the team’s organised international friendlies against Poland and Serbia later this month.
While some notable names were excluded from the list, the German gaffer handed call-ups to a couple of new faces who will now brace up for induction into the national team fraternity.
Nigerian players plying their trade in top football leagues around the world are poised to ignite a major battle for shirts in the Super Eagles as the countdown to the Russia 2018 World Cup hots up.
From England to Turkey, Spain to Russia, and Germany to China, Nigerian players are working themselves into the form necessary to confirm their places for football’s greatest showpiece with less than 95 days to the mundial.
The 19 -year old goalkeeper plies his trade with Deportivo La Coruna, and has made only 1 appearance for the Super Eagles when Gernot Rohr handed him his debut in Nigeria’s 4-2 victory over Argentina in an international friendly.
Ezenwa, the captain of the Nigerian home based Super Eagles, recently led the team to Morocco to participate in the CHAN tournament. The Eagles came second after losing to the hosts in the final of the tournament. The Eyinmba shot stopper has racked up 10 appearances for the Super Eagles so far.
Akpeyi, 31, born in Nigeria (Nnewi), currently plays with South African side Chippa United, and has had 7 caps for the Nigerian Super Eagles
The 24-year-old Abdulahi’s main position is defensive midfield but can also play the role of a right back very effectively. He currently plays with Turkish side Bursaspor and has bagged 16 appearances for the Super Eagles so far. He is yet to open his goal-scoring account for the Eagles.
Tyronne Ebuehi, 22 operates mainly at the right back, but is very versatile running the defense line. The right-footed player can also play centre back and left back. The Holand based Nigerian has been playing for ADO Den Haag in the Eredevise division since 2014. He made his debut for the Super Eagles after coming in to replace Shehu Abdulahi against Argentina in their 4-2 win over the South Americans late last year.
He has been playing regularly for ADO Den Haag this season.
Gernot Rohr gave him his debut in Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier against Zambia, which they won 1-0. He has managed just 3 appearances for the team but has received 4 call ups into the national team. The 22 year old is currently on loan from defending Premier League champions Chelsea to Hull City.
The 21 year old has made two appearances for the Super Eagles. Gernot Rohr handed him his debut in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against South Africa which they lost in Uyo. He currently plies his trade with French team, FC Nantes. The right footed defender can also play centre back and defensive midfield.
William Troost – Ekong (Bursaspor)
The 24 year old William Troost Ekong has already amassed 17 caps for the Super Eagles in a very short time such that he is fast becoming one of the notable faces in the Super Eagles defence. He’s been quite busy in the Turkish League with Bursaspor and was in action for the team when they won 1-0 at home against Kayserspor last weekend. It was his first game after serving a ban following a red card in a previous game against Galatasaray.
Brian Idowu capped his impressive debut performance for the Super Eagles in their 4-2 win over Argentina in a friendly in November, 2017 with a brilliant goal. More good outings against Poland and Serbia could boost his chances of making the final cut for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Leon Balogun is not having the best of seasons in the German Bundesliga with FSV Mainz, no thanks to persistent injuries and suspensions which has limited his performances this season.But no one can doubt his quality as a defender of world class pedigree. Barring any further injuries, Balogun is expected to increase his tally of games for the Super Eagles when he plays against Poland and Serbia this month.
Kenneth Omeruo has regained the trust of the Super Eagles handlers with his consistent display for his Turkish club Kasimpasa but it remains to be seen if he can win a place in the starting line-up where William Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun currently hold sway. Kenneth Omeruo was in the starting line-up for his Turkish team, Kasimpasa in their 1-1 draw against Osmanlispor last weekend.
The Chelsea FC of England loanee was however booked in the 79th minute even though he acquitted himself creditably in the heart of the Kasimpasa defence, making several successful tackles as he helped his team to come away with a respectable result.
The towering Eze earned his debut invitation to the Super Eagles on the back of his performances at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) where he was named in the team of the tournament. His performances for the home Eagles also earned him a deal with Bulgarian club, Lokomotiv Plovdiv. In his third game at the club, he was named in the team of the week.