Super Eagles Head Coach Stephen Keshi finally announced his 23-man squad for the World Cup, but not without springing out some surprises; as the duo of Sunday Mba an Chrisantus Ejike Uzoenyi were omitted.
It was a long but deserving wait for most soccer enthusiasts in Nigeria on Monday night and the coach finally trolled out the list of players boarding the flight to Brazil, with Norwich defender Joseph Yobo handed the privilege of taking a shot on his 100th international cap at last (presently on 96).
Stoke City striker and Nigeria returnee Osaze Odemwingie can now look ahead to making up for last year’s African Cup of Nations (Afcon) miss, partnering Fenerbahce hitman Emmanuel Emenike on the front-line.
It was sad exits for Mba and Ejike Uzoenyi, scorer of the African champions’ winning goal at the Afcon 2013 and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) respectively.
Keshi however stuck to his confidence in home-grown talents, naming Warri Wolves’ Azubuike Egwuekwe (defender), Gombe United’s Chigozie Agbim and Kunle Odunlami of Sunshine Stars in his squad.
Daniel Akpeyi, Joel Obi, Nosa Igiebor, Nnamdi Oduamadi, and Victor Obinna Nsofor make up the rest of the seven players axed from Nigeria’s initial 30-man training squad.
The Eagles will start their campaign against Iran on June 16, before taking on Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina in Group F.
Full Nigeria 23-Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille FC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), 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); 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); Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City, England), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium); Victor Moses (Liverpool, England), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen, Holland).