Iheanacho Back As Rohr Invites 24 Players For AFCON Qualifiers

A file photo of Super Eagles. AFP photo

 

Nigerian international, Kelechi Iheanacho has returned to the national football team after he was axed from the Super Eagles squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Iheanacho made the 24-man list released by the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, on Wednesday, ahead of the quick-double 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone this month.

Rohr also called up for the first time, Germany–based defender, Kingsley Ehizibue, who plays for FC Koln, and Holland-based forward Cyril Dessers.

Team captain Ahmed Musa, Vice-captain William Ekong and defender Kenneth Omeruo made the list.

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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 currently sit top of Group L on six points, having won their first two matches.

The Super Eagles will play the first-leg game 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.

The Super Eagles will also play Benin Republic in Porto Novo in June and a home tie against Lesotho in early September.

All invited players, as well as technical and administrative officials, are to report to camp on Monday, March 23, 2020.

See Fill Squad List Below:

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).

Vardy, Iheanacho Fire Title-Chasing Leicester To Club Record Win

 

 

Leicester closed the gap on Premier League leaders, Liverpool, as Jamie Vardy extended his red-hot streak with a brace in Sunday’s record-breaking 4-1 rout of Aston Villa.

Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed side moved within eight points of Liverpool thanks to goals from Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans at Villa Park.

Jack Grealish had reduced the deficit to 2-1 late in the first half, but Leicester cruised to an eighth consecutive top-flight victory, setting a new club record that smashed the previous best from the 1962-63 season.

Vardy has now scored in eight consecutive Premier League appearances and is the competition’s top-scorer with 16 goals this term.

The 32-year-old striker’s blistering run has given him a chance of equalling his sequence of scoring in 11 successive matches during Leicester’s 2016 title-winning campaign.

Leicester’s surge up the table, after 12 wins from their last 14 league games, has made them unexpected title contenders again and leaves them in position to qualify for the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s men remain heavy title favourites and the acid test of Leicester’s credentials will come with successive fixtures against Manchester City and Liverpool over Christmas.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off to a show of respect to former manager Ron Saunders, who guided Villa to the First Division title in 1981 and died on Saturday aged 87.

Once the emotional tributes were paid, Villa should have taken the lead when Matt Targett’s low cross picked out Anwar El Ghazi, but he fired against the bar from close-range.

Vardy maintained his superb form to put Leicester ahead in the 21st minute.

Latching onto a fine pass from Iheanacho and, with the injured Tyrone Mings unable to sprint back, Vardy had space to round Heaton before stumbling over the ball.

Quickly recovering his footing, the striker glided past Ezri Konsa to slot home from inside the six-yard box.

After bagging the winner against Everton last Sunday, Nigerian forward Iheanacho struck again in the 41st minute.

Teed up by a sweeping Leicester move, James Maddison surged into the Villa area and delivered a fine cross that Iheanacho turned in from close-range.

Grealish gave Dean Smith’s side a lifeline in first half stoppage-time when Villa’s captain shot past Kasper Schmeichel after Leicester failed to clear.

But Evans restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage in the 49th minute when the defender met Maddison’s corner with a towering header for his first goal since February.

Vardy put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute as he raced clear of the Villa defence to drill past Heaton.

Newcastle hit back

Newcastle fought back to make it two consecutive wins with a 2-1 success against Southampton.

Danny Ings gave Southampton a 52nd minute lead at St James’ Park, the striker running onto Jack Stephens’ long pass to notch his fifth goal in his last five appearances.

But Newcastle were level in the 68th minute when Jonjo Shelvey headed in substitute Andy Carroll’s cross, giving the midfielder three goals in his last three games.

And Federico Fernandez won it with three minutes left when he tapped in after Sean Longstaff’s long-range effort was fumbled by Saints keeper Alex McCarthy.

Newcastle are up to 10th place, while Southampton sit third bottom.

Sheffield United came from behind to win 2-1 at second bottom Norwich.

Norwich took the lead in the 27th minute through captain Alexander Tettey’s powerful finish for his first Premier League goal since 2016.

Enda Stevens equalised for United in the 49th minute with a header from George Baldock’s cross.

And Baldock went from provider to scorer three minutes later when he twisted into space before blasting home.

Chris Wilder’s eighth placed team thought they had been reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute.

But Chris Basham escaped with a booking after initially being shown the red card for his foul on Kenny McLean before a VAR review.

Iheanacho The Hero As Leicester Close Gap On Liverpool

 

Kelechi Iheanacho struck deep into stoppage time as Leicester beat Everton 2-1 to close the gap on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League to eight points.

Richarlison had given the visitors a shock lead at the King Power as Everton produced a performance that may do enough to save manager Marco Silva’s job ahead of the Merseyside derby on Wednesday.

But the introduction of Iheanacho just after the hour mark changed the game as the Nigerian set up Jamie Vardy to equalise and then dramatically scored the winner, which was initially ruled out for offside before a VAR review overturned the decision.

A sixth straight Premier League win sends Brendan Rodgers’s men three points clear of defending champions Manchester City in second.

Silva was reportedly on the verge of losing his job earlier in the week after a run of just two wins in 10 league games that has left the Toffees hovering just above the relegation zone.

The Portuguese responded with a change of formation and his switch to a 3-5-2 worked to perfection for the opening goal.

Djibril Sidibe broke upfield from right wing-back and his cross was bulleted home by Richarlison with a diving header.

Leicester had already seen two half-hearted appeals for a penalty waived away for challenges on Ayoze Perez by the time that referee Graham Scott did point to the spot for Mason Holgate’s apparent trip on Ben Chilwell.

However, a lengthy VAR review concluded no contact had been made and the Foxes were frustrated once more.

Leicester laboured in the search for an equaliser, but the introduction of Iheanacho as a substitute just after the hour mark provided the much-needed spark.

His first effort was too close to Jordan Pickford, but he got in behind the Everton defence again moments later and squared for Vardy for score his 13th goal of the season at the back post.

Vardy had been quiet for the first 68 minutes, but came alive in the final quarter.

James Maddison should have done better from his cross as his finish was straight at Pickford before Vardy rose highest in the box but just planted his header from Youri Tielemans’s cross too high.

Just as Leicester were turning the screw, Everton were inches away from retaking the lead in spectacular fashion as substitute Moise Kean nearly scored his first goal for the club with a curling effort that hit the side-netting.

Silva’s men appeared to have weathered the Leicester storm, but deep into added time Iheanacho collected Ricardo Pereira’s pass, turned inside and found the bottom corner.

A nervous wait ensued with the linesman’s flag raised, but a VAR check ruled the former Manchester City man onside for his first league goal since September 2018.

Nigeria Trash Algeria 3-1 In World Cup Qualifier

World Cup Qualifier: Nigeria Trash Algeria 3-1 in UyoThe Super Eagles of Nigeria have beaten the Desert Warriors of Algeria 3-1 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Chelsea forward Victor Moses scored Nigeria’s first goal in the 26th minute after a mix up in the Algerian defence.

Captain Mikel Obi added a second on 42 minutes after beating the offside trap set by the Algerian defence.

Nabil Bentaleb pulled one back for Algeria in the second half but Victor Moses’s 2nd goal of match wrapped up all three points for the Super Eagles.

Nigeria now have six points from the two matches played and have created a 4-point lead after Cameroon and Zambia played a 1-1 draw in the group’s other game.

Cameroon are second with two points while Zambia and Algeria who have both lost to Nigeria have one point each.

Georges Leekens’ men are now in danger of missing out on the 2018 World Cup in spite of having some of the continent’s most in-form players and being ranked third in the continent behind the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Before the match, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, promised Super Eagles players $10,000 for every unreplied goal they score against Algeria, in the World Cup qualifier.

Governor Udom made this promise, when he visited the team at their Le Meridien Hotel camp, accompanied by his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.

The Governor had donated 10million naira to the three-time African champions, after they defeated Tanzania 1-0 in September.

Governor Udom Promises Super Eagles $10,000 Per Goal

Governor Udom Promises Super Eagles $10,000 Per GoalAkwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has promised Super Eagles players $10,000 for every unreplied goal they score against Algeria, in Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Governor Udom made this promise, when he visited the team at their Le Meridien Hotel camp, accompanied by his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.

The Governor had donated 10million naira to the three-time African champions, after they defeated Tanzania 1-0 in September.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will host Algeria in this weekend’s biggest African qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup.

Algeria, ranked third in the continent behind the Ivory Coast and Senegal, face a resurgent Group B pacesetters Nigeria at the ‘Nest of champions’ in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

While Algeria could not hold an early lead in a surprise 1-1 home draw with Cameroon in October, Nigeria made a perfect start by winning 2-1 in Zambia.

The Uyo showdown marks the debut of Belgian coach, Georges Leekens, the third handler of Algeria this year after Frenchman Christian Gourcoff and Serb Milovan Rajevac.

Starting Line-up

Coach Gernot Rohr has released his team list for the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Daniel Akpeyi starts in goal while Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun and Elderson Eciejile will file out in defence.

Captain Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi will marshal the midfield while Victor Moses, Oghenekaro Etebo, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi are the forwards.

The game kicks off 5pm Nigerian time.

Iheanacho, Mikel, Musa Make CAF Award 30-Man List

Iheanacho, Musa, Mikel, CAFNigerian stars, Kelechi Iheanacho, Mikel Obi and Ahmed Musa are among 30 players nominated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for the 2016 African Footballer of the Year.

This is Iheanacho’s first-ever nomination for the continent’s top individual honour after a successful season with Manchester City in the English Premier League.

The 20-year-old striker has also established himself at full international level after he has represented Nigeria at U-17 and U-20 levels.

Chelsea midfielder, Mikel inspired Nigeria to win bronze at the Rio Olympics, while Ahmed Musa has shone at Russian champions, CSKA Moscow before his big-money move to Leicester City.

Super Eagles Beat Plateau United 3-0 In Test Match

Super Eagles, Plateau UnitedThe Super Eagles on Wednesday defeated local league side, Plateau United, 3 – 0 in a test match at the National Stadium in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Anderson Esiti’s goal and Alex Iwobi’s brace gave the Eagles a whopping victory over the Nigerian Premier League club.

Coach Gernot Rohr lined up his players for the practice game as he intensifies Nigeria’s preparations for Sunday’s Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia in Ndola.

The coach reportedly made wholesome changes to the playing personnel at half time after struggling in the first half.

The move paid off as the Eagles became more dangerous, confining their opponents to their half of the field.

The starting 11 had Ezenwa, Musa Muhammed, Madu, Jamiu, Agbo, Esiti, Shehu, Ahmed Musa, Chisom Egbuchulam, Nosa and Obaje.

While the second half featured Ikeme, Echiejile, Omeruo, Ekong, Onazi, Mikel, Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Iwobi, Ndidi and Ideye.

Iheanacho, Iwobi Nominated For Golden Boy Award

iheanacho, Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Arsenal, Alex Iwobi, Arsene Wenger, Golden BoyNigeria internationals Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi have been shortlisted for the 2016 edition of the Golden Boy Award.

Iheanacho who recently became the first Nigerian to score in the Manchester derby made the list having scored 10 goals in the 2015/2016 season and has three so far in the ongoing 2016/17 season.

Iwobi got into the Arsenal first team last season, scoring two goals and has become a regular for the Gunners this season.

The Golden Boy Award is meant for the best player under the age of 21 who play in a European nation’s top division.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford also made the cut.

The 18-year-old talent has enjoyed a stellar 2016 since making his Manchester United debut in February, including becoming an England international.

Tottenham also have a representative in England international Dele Alli. The 20-year-old scored 11 goals last season as Spurs finished third in the Premier League.

There are three representatives from Chelsea (Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Nathan), while Manchester City have two (Kelechi Iheanacho and Leroy Sane).

Leicester City’s Demarai Gray and Liverpool’s Marko Grujic complete the list of 10 Premier League-based players on the 40-man shortlist.

Former Minister arrested for illegal oil dealings

Former Minister of Interior, Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho has been handed over to the State Security Service on charges of oil theft.

Captain Iheanacho was arrested in Lagos on Friday by security operatives attached to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency with some top officials of his company, Integrated Oil and Gas limited.

The company is alleged to be involvement in illegal oil dealings.

Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) spoke to newsmen in Lagos that the search for the sponsors of these pirates has led to the tracing of the stolen products to integrated oil and gas tank farm.

The D.G. said that the premises of integrated oil and gas limited had to be sealed off pending investigation.

The DG NIMASA said further that NIMASA will now go the full length of uncovering the ring of oil thieves as it has come to realise that behind the nefarious activity, notable people in the country serve as kingpins to these oil thieves who facilitate piracy and the agency will join hands with other security operatives to fight the people behind the sale, purchase and storage of the stolen products.