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.
The list continues,
John Obi Mikel (Tianjin Teda)
Super Eagles captain, John Obi Mikel was in action for his team, Tianjin Teda when the Chinese Super League season got underway last weekend.
The former Chelsea man is poised to make the current season better than his first in the Chinese League. He was a prominent figure in his team’s midfield as they drew1-1 with visiting Hebei last weekend.
Onazi makes a return to the team after missing the last two games against Algeria and Argentina. Onazi’s biggest asset of anticipating danger during match situations has earned him a regular place in the team’s midfield. He also has a reputation for packing bullets in his shots and he is forever an asset to a team such as the Eagles who need creativity and depth as they make their sixth World Cup appearance.
Wilfred Ndidi has been one of the most consistent players for club and country in the last one year. Ndidi is the Super Eagles reliable anchor in midfield and he is expected to replicate that form when Nigeria takes on Poland and Serbia this month.
Etebo has got tongues wagging with his brilliant performance for struggling Las Palmas in the Spanish LaLiga. The midfielder continued from where he left off with Portuguese side Feriense where he was their most influential player, scoring vital goals for the team before recently joining Las Palmas. His current form therefore suggests he would be a major plus for Gernot Rohr as he fine tunes his strategy for the mundial.
The 29-year-old central midfielder can play in different positions and that makes him an irresistible choice for the Super Eagles handlers going into the friendlies against Poland and Serbia. He is as good in holding midfield as he is effective joining up with the team in attack. He was a prominent face for the team during its campaign for a ticket to the World Cup. Barring any untoward occurrences Ogu, should provide options for Gernot Rohr as they hit the World stage in the summer.
The Torino midfielder makes a return to the Super Eagles after an interminable absence due to persistent injuries. In a midfield department where the Super Eagles are spoilt for choice, the 27- year-old must offer more than what the likes of John Ogu, Wilfred Ndidi, Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo can to break into the main team.
Uche Agbo has been consistently earned call-ups since Gernot Rohr took the reinsof the team on the senior national team. But he still waits on the side-lines to make his debut as the coach is reluctant to alter his squad. But the upcoming games presents another opportunity for him to showcase his talent.
Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow)
Ahmed Musa has been a huge hit since returning from Leicester City to star for his former Russian Club, CSKA Moscow.
He was on for the entire duration of the game last weekend when CSKA won 2-0 against visiting Ural FC in the Russian top division. The new lease of life he has thus acquired playing football in a familiar territory is bound to rub off on the fortunes of the Super Eagles who incidentally would be campaigning for laurels at the World Cup in Musa’s current abode. He was Nigeria’s miracle man four years ago when he accounted for the two goals against familiar foes, Argentina in an eventual 3-2 loss at Brazil 2014. Musa with his characteristic pace could replicate those heroics again at Russia 2018.
Iheanacho is Nigeria’s most prolific scorer in the past one year, scoring four goals in seven games for the Super Eagles. His performance in Nigeria’s 4-2 win over Argentina shows how dynamic the 21-year-old is and how well he has evolved.
Simon made a return from a knee ligament injury that kept him out of action for two months last Sunday in Gent’s 3-2 loss to KV Oostende. Simon, a tricky winger, who is full of mazy runs was quite influencial during the country’s quest for a sixth berth at the World Cup recently. If he is in his elements he could be Nigeria’s main danger man at the mundial.
Arguably, one of the biggest players in the team is Victor Moses. The Chelsea star is also a sure bet for the World Cup barring any serious injury. He had been quite outstanding for the Super Eagles throughout its qualifying campaigns as he virtually took games by the scruff of the neck to eventually dictate the outcomes with daring dribbles, assists and goals. Only by the whiskers did he fail to be crowned Africa’s best for the year 2017 after posting unforgettable displays for club and country.
Expected to be Nigeria’s first choice striker to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, on account of his experience and exposure. The former Watford man who relishes an opportunity to feature for his country in football’s biggest show piece is motivated and Nigerians could be seeing the reincarnation of a Rashidi Yekini at the World Cup. Ighalo knows he has his work cut out if he must replicate the heroics of the now deceased legend by consistent displays for his Chinese team Changchun Yatai. He was close to his best possible form reminiscent of his time in England when he scored 15 goals in 27 league games for his club to emerge as the eight leading scorer in the CSL last season.
Iwobi has been decent for Arsenal this season despite being on a two-month goal drought. The 21-year-old has managed to feature for Arsenal this season despite the big signings made by Arsene Wenger during the transfer windows. To his credit he has made giant strides for a teenager in the Super Eagles since being called up, scoring two very vital goals to help the team qualify for the World Cup. He also proved that his inclusion in the senior national team has not been a mistake as he also scored against Argentina in their recent 4-2 win.
Junior Ajayi’s reputation has continued to soar in the Egyptian League with reigning champions Al Ahly. Currently in his second season with the club, Ajayi caught the eye of the Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr after starring for the Egyptian giants in the CAF Champions League and Egyptian League. He also made the Confederation of African Football’s best XI at the Aiteo CAF Awards in January. He is expected to make his debut in the team count.
Okechukwu Gabriel was one of the surprise inclusions in the squad by Gernot Rohr. Gabriel starred for the home Eagles at the West African Football Union (WAFU) championship in Ghana and the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Morocco where he scored twice in both tournaments. The Akwa United striker must now prove his class among the established stars to be considered for the final squad to the Mundial.