On September 8th Nigeria will play Seychelles in a qualifying match for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon 2019. The game will be played in Victoria, Seychelles. After the past week’s disagreements with FIFA over the Head of the Nigerian Football Federation, where Nigeria narrowly escaped an international ban from football, Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr has published a list of 24 players who will be competing for a starting place in the game against Seychelles.
Recently, Victor Moses, a 27-year old Chelsea player, has made an unexpected announcement about withdrawing from international football, so he could focus more on his club career. Another notable absentee will be John Obi-Mikel, a former Chelsea player currently playing in China. Both featured for Nigeria in World Cup in Russia. The Nigerian team hopes that other players will step up to the plate and take the roles of these two players, especially of Obi-Mikel who was team captain.
Even though they are playing Seychelles, a much smaller team, team manager Rohr has warned against complacency and is taking a quality team to the island. These include Ahmed Musa who is currently playing in Saudi Arabia, Alex Iwobi from Arsenal and Kelechi Iheanacho from Leicester City. Francis Uzoho will keep his place as the main goalkeeper. His fellow goalie Ikechukwi Ezenwa will be the only Nigeria based player called up to the squad.
Three players are making their debuts in the team, Semi Ajayi from the newly promoted Championship side Rotherham United, Jamilu Collins from SC Paderborn, the German 2nd division club and Samil Kalu who recently joined the French League 1 club, Bordeaux. Defenders like Brian Idowu and Leon Belogun, as well as midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi, who played in all of Nigeria’s World Cup matches, are in the team as well.
Nigeria haven’t started the qualifying well, losing to South Africa in the first match, and will now turn to this re-shaped squad to take them all the way to Cameroon 2019.
The full list of 24 players is below.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC) and Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy), Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany), Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Chidozie Awaziem (Porto, Portugal), William Ekong (Udinese, Italy), Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove, England), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes, Spain) and Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England), John Ogu (Hapoel, Israel), Joel Obi (Chievo, Italy) and Kelechi Nwakali (Porto, Portugal)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar, Saudi Arabia), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone FC, Italy), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England), Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux, France) and Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray, Turkey)