Five of the outstanding players from Nigeria squad to the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in South Africa, made the Super Eagles 30-man provisional World Cup squad for Brazil.
On loan Enugu Rangers midfielder Chrisantus Ejike Uzoenyi, 22, Sunshine Stars’ Kunle Odunlami, 23, Azubuike Egwueke, 24, of Warri Wolves and Chigozie Agbim is included in the squad list, released on Tuesday night by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
Agbim, 29, was largely criticised for his performance at the CHAN tournament early this year but has since switched allegiance in the Glo Premier League, where he has been getting more playing time at Gombe United, after admitting he was match rust prior to Nigeria’s debut appearance at the tournament organised for players in the domestic league throughout Africa.
As against earlier speculations, Kano Pillars’ Rabiu Ali is excluded from the squad, as Heartland’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi became a surprise inclusion.
Akpeyi, 28, was an unused understudy to Agbim in South Africa, but has made several appearances for the ‘Naze Millionaires’ this season.
On the foreign scene, John Mikel Obi of Chelsea and Liverpool’s Victor Moses lead a cast of 19 returning players from the 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon- winning squad despite both struggling for first-team football, but Hull’s Sone Aluko is left out.
Stoke City forwards Peter Odemwingie, 32, and on loan Norwich City defender, Joseph Yobo, 33, both got a recall.
Odemwingie last played for the Super Eagles in a goalless draw against Rwanda in February 2012, while Yobo has not worn the green and white jersey since Afcon 2013.
Nigeria is pitted against Argentina, Iran and Bosnia in Group F of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
The three-time African champions will face Scotland in a friendly on 28 May at Craven Cottage, before they depart for their training camp in Houston, Texas.
They will also play friendly internationals against Greece and the United States in June as part of their warm-up for this year’s World Cup.
Nigeria provisional World Cup squad list:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille FC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United)
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France); Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, England); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Joseph Yobo (Norwich City, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Joel Obi (Parma, Italy); Nnamdi Oduamadi (Varese, Italy); Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain), Sunday Mba (CA Bastia, France), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk, Ukraine).
Forwards : Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce, Turkey); Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona, Italy); Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City, England), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium); Victor Moses (Liverpool, England), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen, Holland).