Nigeria’s coach, Gernot Rohr has included two first timers in his team that will face Sierra Leone in back-to-back encounters later this month as the race to Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations gets to the mid point.
They are Germany –based defender Kingsley Ehizibue of FC Koln and Holland –based forward Cyril Dessers. Kelechi Iheanacho is also staging a return.
Nigeria will host Sierra Leone in Asaba on 27 March and play the return leg on 31 March. Victories or getting at least four of the obtainable six points will almost guarantee Nigeria’s qualification.
In Rohr’s 24 man list, Leon Balogun is staging a return. Other listed are captain Ahmed Musa, vice captain William Ekong and veteran defender Kenneth Omeruo.
There are also goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, defenders Leon Balogun and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forwards Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen in the list of three goalkeepers, eight defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards.
Nigeria, on maximum six points from their first two matches of the campaign and in somewhat comfortable lead in their pool, host the Leone Stars at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Friday, 27th March, before flying to Freetown to confront the Stars at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in the return four days later.
All invited players, as well as technical and administrative officials, are to report in the Delta State capital on Monday, 23rd March.
Victory in both games will virtually guarantee Nigeria a spot at the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Cameroon early next year, ahead of their away clash to Benin Republic in Porto Novo in June and home tie against Lesotho early September.
24 EAGLES FOR LEONE STARS’ BATTLES
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC); Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Wigan Athletic, England); Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Kingsley Ehizibue (FC Koln, Germany)
Midfielders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Etebo Oghenekaro (Getafe FC, Spain); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (Heracles Almelo, The Netherlands); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France)