Nigeria Invites 23 Players For AFCON Qualifiers

AFCON QualifiersAfrican Champions, Nigeria, have called up 23 players for the 2015 Nations Cup qualifying matches against the Red Devils of Congo and South Africa’s Bafana Bafana.

The list released by the Nigeria Football Federation features goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama; defenders, Kenneth Omeruo and Efe Ambrose; midfielders, Ogenyi Onazi and John Mikel Obi, and forwards, Ahmed Musa and Emmanuel Emenike.

Monaco of France defender, Elderson Echiejile, who missed the 2014 FIFA World Cup due to injury, Nosa Igiebor and Schalke 04’s Chinedu Obasi are all back for the qualifiers.

Home–based quartet, Chigozie Agbim, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kunle Odunlami and Gbolahan Salami, who were part of Nigeria’s third place finish at the African Nations Championship in South Africa earlier in the year, would be making a return to Capetown.

Enugu Rangers’ topman, Christian Osaguona also add to the number of players from the domestic league.

Nigeria starts its AFCON qualifiers with Congo in Calabar on September 6, and later leave for Cape Town to take on the Bafana Bafana on September 10.

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille OSC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United, Nigeria)

Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco FC, France); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor FC, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves, Nigeria); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough FC, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars, Nigeria)

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain); Joel Obi (Inter Milan, Italy); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain); Omatsone Aluko (Hull City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke (Schalke 04, Germany); Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen FC, Netherlands); Nnamdi Oduamadi (AS Varese 1910, Italy); Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves); Christian Osaguona (Enugu Rangers)   

Keshi Explains Reason For World Cup List Delay

KeshiSuper Eagles Coach,  Stephen Keshi has explained that the delay in releasing the 30-man provisional World Cup list was to give enough time to monitor players who were in good health and physical condition.”

According to Keshi, there was no point calling up players who won’t be available when the tournament kicks-off in Brazil.

“As you know, many leagues especially in Europe are ending. Some players could have one or two knocks which they have been nursing. The invited players are expected in camp three days before our first test match against Scotland.”

Meanwhile, football fans in the country are questioning the inclusion of Parma’s Joel Obi and Waasland-Beveren’s Gabriel Reuben, who have been troubled by injuries.

Nigeria will be making its fifth appearance at this year’s World Cup in Brazil and has been put in Group F with Iran, Bosnia and Argentina.

Keshi not disturbed with Yobo’s absence

Super Eagle’s Coach, Stephen Keshi, said there is no cause for alarm at the absence of skipper Joseph Yobo just as Chelsea’s midfielder John Mikel Obi joined the team earlier on Wednesday.

Keshi revealed that the medical team at Turkish side Fernabahce have ruled Yobo out of the match against Liberia with a torn cruciate ligament and have put him on medical examination to determine whether he could travel to Nigeria to cheer the team to victory.

Yobo’s knee is reported to have swollen after he played 70 minutes for his Turkish side over the weekend

According to the Eagles Coach, Yobo, spent over one hour on phone with him to confirm he will not be available for this weekend’s crucial tie against the lone star of Liberia.

Yobo played in last month’s 2 all draw in Liberia but was later replaced by Efe Ambrose in the second half.

In June, he missed all three of Nigeria’s Nation’s Cup and World Cup qualifiers against Rwanda, Malawi and Namibia also on account of injury.

Meanwhile Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi arrived the Metropolitan Hotel camp of the Eagles Wednesday afternoon, after his protracted battle to get a Ukrainian visa for his side’s UEFA Champion’s League game next week.

Mikel said he is fit for the encounter against Liberia to cool off speculations surrounding his availability.

The camp of the Super Eagles in Calabar is bubbling with activity as most of the invited Europe-based players have arrived ahead of the weekend’s 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Spokesman of the team, Ben Alaiya, confirmed to Channels Sports that Ambrose Efe, Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa, Joel Obi, Victor Moses and Ikechukwu Uche have all arrived the training camp. Other are Elderson Echiejile, Obiorah Nwankwo and Onazi Ogenyi have showed up in camp

Alaiya confirmed that only 3 players are still being expected.

Earlier goalkeepers Austin Ejide and Vincent Enyeama as well as Nosa Igiebor joined up with the 7 players from the Nigeria Premier League in a training session

Keshi defends Mikel invitation to Eagles squad

Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi, Tuesday night rebutted insinuations that the restoration of John Mikel to Nigeria’s roster for the Africa Cup of Nations tie against Liberia was because of pressure from high quarters.

Mikel was named among the 38 foreign and home-based players for the crucial engagement billed for Calabar on October 13, marking his return to the national camp since November 2011.

The Chelsea midfielder is yet to figure for the Eagles under the watch of Keshi, after his celebrated refusal to play a friendly match against Botswana last November in Benin City because the game was on an artificial pitch.

The last time he was deployed for Nigeria was in the friendly match against Ghana in London on October 11 2011.

After his meeting with the members of the NFF Technical Committee, Tuesday, Keshi told reporters he offered to include Mikel after the holding midfielder assured him of his availability, when they spoke three days ago.

“I spoke with Mikel three days ago and he convinced me was ready to play for Nigeria and be part of the team that will beat Liberia for the Nations Cup ticket. I don’t have problem with Mikel, he has always figured in my plan.  I know he is in form and he told me that he was ready to play for his country. Nobody forced him on the technical crew,” he defended.

Apart from Mikel, Joel Obi of Inter Milan was also one of the players that staged a return to the Eagles, while Onazi Ogenyi, who plays for Lazio in Italy, was handed his first international call up.

Ogenyi, a forward, was a member of the U-17 team that reached the final of FIFA U-17 World Cup at Nigeria 2009 under the watch of coach, John Sam Obuh.

The full list of foreign-based players are: Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama (Maccabi Tel Aviv) Austin Ejide(Hapoel Be’er Sheva)

Defenders: Captain Joseph Yobo (Fenerbache) Elderson Echiejile ( Sporting Braga) Efe Ambrose (Celtic)

Midfielders: Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis) Joel Obi (Inter Milan) Nwankwo Obiora( Padova) Ogenyi Onazi ( SS Lazio) John Obi Mikel (Chelsea)

Attackers: Victor Moses (Chelsea) Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Ikechukwu Uche( Villareal), Emmanuel Emenike (Spartak Moscow) Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev)

Meanwhile the duo of Osaze Odemwingie and Taye Taiwo were not included in the team, as Keshi expects them to fight for their place in the Super Eagles squad.

The 23 home based players expected to resume campg at the end of the month are: Chigozie Agbim(Warri Wolves), Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland), Azubike Egwueke (Warri Wolves), Papa Idris (Kano Pillars), Godfrey Obuabuona (Sunshine Stars) Umar Zango (Kano Pillars), Kwambe Solomon (Sunshine Stars), Ezekiel Bassey (Kano Pillars), Kingsley Udoh (Heartland), Ejike Uzoenyi  (Rangers), Sunday Mba(Warri Wolves), Gabriel Reuben(Kano Pillars), Henry Uche(Enyimba), Christian Ofibi (ABS), Solomon Jabason (Akwa United), Sanusi Sani (Gombe), Philiph Asukwo (3SC), Izu Azuka (Sunshine Stars), Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars), Brendan Obu (Heartland), Fidelis Saviour (FC Taraba), Ubale Manir (Kano Pillars) and Gomor Ondukwu (Sharks).

 

 

FG acquires four generators for Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport

The Special Assistant (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joel Obi, says the Federal governemnt has commenced the installation of four generators for the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.  According to Mr Obi, the government is taking the initiative to resolve the problem of black out at the airport and to prevent future embarrasment.

On three different occasions this year, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has suffered a total blackout. When the latest blackout occurred barely a week after the unfortunate Dana plane crash, some international flights about to land in the airport, were diverted to nearby airports.

When completed, the special assistant said that it would signal an end to the challenge of lighting at the airport.

Four generators, with a combined capacity of 6,000KVA, have been acquired to supply electricity to the airport. Each of the generators has a capacity of 1,500KVA.

With the new acquisitions, the Abuja Airport now has two sets of power backup in addition to the national grid.