AFCON 2019: Mikel, Iheanacho, 23 others called to camp

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Michael Babatunde
The Super Eagles Coach Gernot Rohr has invited Eagles’ skipper, Mikel John Obi, winger Ahmed Musa, defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Abdullahi Shehu in a 25-man squad ahead of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Rohr rolled out the list on Tuesday putting six other players on standby.

Mikel Obi who has not been with the Eagles since he led the team to the FIFA World Cup in Russia will look forward to adding to his 85 international caps having sealed his return.

Goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon who earned Nigeria ticket to the AFCON finals are also on the roll-call.

Surprisingly, out of favour Leicester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho seem to have luck on his side to have been called up by Rohr despite his poor form in the 2018/19 campaign.

On Standby are defenders Ikouwem Utin and Valentine Ozornwafor who have also been named in Nigeria’s final 21 for the FIFA U20 World Cup starting in Poland next week, 2018 FIFA World Cup defender Bryan Idowu alongside Portugal –based Mikel Agu and Egypt –based Junior Ajayi, as well as home –based goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai.

The Franco-German tactician explained that he has inclusion of Utin and Ozornwafor who will be featuring at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland was because the tourney will end six days before the first match will be played at the AFCON.

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Meanwhile, all invited players and officials are to report at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Asaba on Sunday, 2nd June, ahead of the friendly with the Warriors of Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium on Saturday, 8th June.

The team will depart for Egypt on Sunday, 9th June aboard a chartered aircraft, set up a final training camp in the city of Ismailia and tackle Africa’s number one –ranked team, Senegal in their final pre-AFCON friendly on Sunday, 16th June.

Nigeria faces Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in Group B of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egyptian cities between 21st June and 19th July.

See list of called up players below
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Six On Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)

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