Afrofooty understands that quite a number of players have received their invitation letters to join the camp of the Super Eagles ahead of upcoming friendly matches against Serbia and Poland in March 2018.
Regarding the authorised date of the release of the squad names, the official NFF tweeter handle is reportedly quoted as stating: “Media Alert. The list of players invited by coach Gernot Rohr for the friendlies against Poland and Serbia in March will be officially released to the media in Abuja on March 7 at a well publicized event.”
We chronicle some of the players thought to be invited below to see what they potentially bring to the Super Eagles and finish by mentioning those understood not to be invited.
Frances Uzoho: The young goalkeeper based in Spain does not possess the experience of international football at the highest level. That said, the cool, calm and collected persona he displayed in Nigeria’s friendly match against Argentina last November coupled with the fact that he mans the goal regularly at his club’s team “B” gives him a realistic chance to feature and perhaps make the number 1 slot his.
Daniel Akpeyi: Akpeyi started out his full international career very brightly indeed with performances that won critical acclaim for example the friendly match against South Africa in 2015 where he saved a penalty and his sterling display in Nigeria’s 1:0 loss to Egypt in an Afcon qualifier in 2016 where he made several point-blank saves.
Unfortunately, and rather unfairly, many observers blame Daniel for Nigeria’s poor display in the 0:2 home defeat against South Africa in 2017 (although the team was largely inexperienced and almost all the selected players played badly). That aside, other unconvincing performances and his persona that fails to exude confidence now mean that he is highly unlikely to retain or regain the number one slot.
Elderson Echiejile: Experience is not a commodity that can be purchased in the supermarket and, despite the fact that he is no longer a fans favourite, Elderson brings bags of experience that Gernot Rohr's young squad can tap into.
The left back, despite all the criticisms from fans, contributed to Nigeria qualifying for the World Cup as he was a key member of the squad in the qualifying campaign.
Whether he starts or not is another matter but the 2 times FIFA World Cup participant, African Cup of Nations winner and FIFA confederations cup partaker deserves to be in the squad.
Brian Idowu: One cap, one goal and an all-round solid defensive display in his only game to date against Argentina last year justifies Idowu’s inclusion in the eyes of many.
Chidozie Awaziem: Squarely at fault for South Africa’s first goal in the humiliating 0:2 home defeat in 2017 due to poor positioning, Coach Rohr appears to have kept faith with a player who has been inactive in his club recently in France.
John Ogu: Big strong, powerful and quite agile for a big guy, Ogu is a competent presence in
midfield. Whether he can displace Ndidi or Onazi in the starting line-up remains to be seen.
Oghenekaro Etebo: The midfield is quite versatile as he can play as a winger, attacking or central midfielder. A regular starter before the emergence of Ndidi, however, he may yet force his way back to the starting line-up.
Joel Obi - Fan favourite; quite a lot of Super Eagles fans believe that but for injury, Joel Obi would have been far bigger a star than he is right now. Nimble with ball and highly technical in his play, Obi has churned out impressive displays for his club Torino this season. His time may just have arrived.
Odion Ighalo – The China-based Super Eagle needs no introduction. A clinical finisher in the 18 yard box, quick, sharp, strong and a powerful centre forward; Ighalo is no doubt Nigeria’s best striker at the moment.
Brown Ideye: One of the most un-selfish support-strikers out there, Ideye is not much of clinical finisher. However, football is a team sport and in Ideye you have Mr. Team-player Extraordinaire.
Those are the names we have thus far.
Afroofoty understands that the trio of Chidebere Nwakali of Aberdeen, Victor Osimhen of Wolfsburg and Hapoel Beer-Sheva winger Anthony Nwakaeme are not expected to be invited to the squad to face Poland and Serbia.