Premier League stars feature in Nigeria’s final squad
After weeks of anticipation and waiting around, Nigeria’s final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup has finally been revealed. The African nation waited until the last possible moment to announce who would be on the plane to Russia, which makes sense, given that they still had a friendly against England to contend with. Many will take one look at their side and automatically write them off, but others will take pride in the fact that the Premier League has been well represented from top to bottom. One of the more notable entries in the squad is Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, who struck Nigeria’s only goal at the weekend in their 2-1 Wembley defeat. The 21-year-old hasn’t quite been able to get the job done for the Gunners as of yet, but given his effort at the weekend, he could be heading into Russia with just the right amount of momentum. On top of that, Chelsea’s Victor Moses and Leicester’s trio of Ndidi, Iheanacho and Musa have all made the squad. Brighton’s newest signing Leon Balogun will also feature despite what looked like a nasty head injury at the weekend, and of course, former Chelsea favourite John Obi Mikel will be the man to lead the side throughout the tournament as captain.
So, when you’re down the pub with your mates talking about dark horse nations who could have a surprise run in Russia, make sure you don’t forget that The Super Eagles have plenty of weapons up their sleeve. The main aim for them will likely be to just get out of the groups, but on top of that, they’ll be looking at the knockout stages knowing that a quarter-final appearance would mark their best ever performance in World Cup history. There are no guarantees that they’ll be able to pull that off, of course, and there are still some tough challenges ahead of them, but they have no reason to fear anyone who they may come up against. Before flying out to the WC they’ll have to contend with one final warm-up game, as they take on a Czech Republic side who are still reeling from an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Australia. But, before that, we’ve decided to list off all of the players who will be taking part in the World Cup this summer for Nigeria. Whether it be through social media or if you get a chance to see them live, make sure that you commend these players for their tremendous achievement of having what it takes to play in football’s biggest stage.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United)
Defenders: William Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor), Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC), Leon Balogun (Brighton), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Joel Obi (Torino, Italy)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone)