West Bromwich Albion striker Brown Ideye has been named in Nigeria’s 28-man squad for this month’s international friendly matches against Bolivia and South Africa.
The Super Eagles are scheduled to play South Africa on Sunday, 29 March at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, three days after another duel with South Americans Bolivia at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo.
There are 18 overseas-based stars and 10 players from the domestic league on the list. Former Junior international Akeem Latifu and Enyimba duo of Kingsley Sokari and Mfom Udoh headline the home-based professionals called up for the double cracker.
Ideye, 26, who last featured for the three-time African champions at the 2013 Confederation Cup in Brazil, has scored seven goals in 25 appearances for West Brom- a club he joined for a club-record transfer fee from Dynamo Kiev last July.
Coach Daniel Amokachi has also extended invitation to another in-form player, Odion Ighalo, who figures for Championship side Watford FC. Ighalo, 25, has been firing on all cylinder at Vicarage Road with 17 goals in 27 appearances this season.
— Ideye Brown MON (@OfficialIdeye) March 17, 2015
FC Cologne striker Anthony Ujah also returns to the side. Ujah is the second highest-scoring African export in the German Bundesliga behind Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with nine goals.
Darmstadt 98 defender Leon Balogun is handed a chance to earn just his second Nigeria cap after ending his debut on a sad note in a 2014 World Cup warm-up draw with Mexico at the Georgia Dome stadium, USA.
Either occasion of international friendly matches most likely belongs to Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who is one-game shy of his 100th international cap. The LOSC Lille shot-stopper is joined by other regulars, like Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, Ogenyi Onazi and Ahmed Musa.
Invited players are expected to report at the Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo on Monday, 23 March ahead of the clash with Bolivia on 26 March. The squad heads for South Africa on Friday, 27 March for the battle with Bafana Bafana.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France); Theophilus Afelokhai (Kano Pillars); Chidiebere Eze (Ifeanyi Ubah United)
Defenders: Chima Akas (Sharks FC); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Nelson Ogbonnaya (Heartland FC), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England); Akeem Latifu (Aalesunds FC, Norway); Leon Balogun (Darmstadt 98, Germany)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Steven Ukoh (Biel-Bienne FC, Switzerland); Omatsone Aluko (Hull City, England); Hope Akpan (Reading FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Babatunde Michael (Volyn Lutsk, Ukraine); Joseph Nathaniel (Sharks FC); Kingsley Sokari (Enyimba FC)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Aaron Samuel (Guangzhou R&F, China); Brown Ideye (West Brom, England); Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England); Anthony Ujah (FC Cologne, Germany); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Ubong Moses (Kano Pillars); Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves); Mfon Udoh (Enyimba FC); Standby – Victor Moses (Stoke City, England)