Rohr Drops Igiebor, Calls 2 Goalkeepers for Corsica Camp
BY KUNLE SOLAJA
Only two goalkeepers, instead of three are called up for camping ahead of next month’s 2019 Africa Cup qualifying fixture with South Africa.
The two goalkeepers in a 25-man list released by the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday night are Ikechukwu Ezenwa of FC IfeanyiUbah and Dele Alampasu of Cesarense FC in Portugal.
The usual goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme of Wolverhampton, is ruled out due to recurring injury. Another glaring omission in the list is Nosa Igiebor of Turkish Süper Lig club, Çaykur Rizespor Kulübü.
He was reported to have sensationally ruled himself out of any squad called up by Gernot Rohr. Conspicuously missing is Mikel Obi who is ruled out ostensibly due to injury. England –based duo Ola Aina (Chelsea FC) and Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC) have been granted permission to feature for their respective clubs in the English FA Cup final on May 27 before joining the squad in Paris.
The called up players are to report in Corsica, a mountainous Mediterranean island and one of the 13 regions of France. In the list is Kayode Olarenwaju whose 14 goals so far in the Austrian Bundesliga easily bring him out as the most lethal Nigerian striker in Europe this season.
Also included are two top scorers in the domestic league – the MFM duo of Sikiru Olatubosun and the controversial Stephen Odey. The other two home-based players are Ikechukwu Ezenwa of FC IfeanyiUbah and Akwa United’s Alhassan Ibrahim.
The lead scorer in the last U-17 FIFA World Cup, Victor Osimhen of Wolfsburg FC in Germany is also back in the squad.
The three-time African champions will open camp in Corsica on May 24 and then play against the Corsica team two days later.
The match will however not count as full international as Corsica is just a region in France.
The Corsica team, tagged “Squadra Corsa di Balò” is an unofficial team of the French Island and is neither affiliated to UEFA nor FIFA. It had played against national teams only three times in history.
These were against France in 1967, Cameroon in the days leading to France ’98 and Congo in 2009. Super Eagles will therefore be the fourth national team to test strength with Corsica.
It is from the French island that the Super Eagles will travel to Uyo to face South Africa. Paradoxically, South Africa was the first team the Super Eagles ever played against in Uyo. It was that match that crumbled the dream to qualify for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, even though the team was not beaten.
Nigeria, unbeaten in a competitive game at senior level by South Africa since the Rainbow Nation returned to international football 25 years ago, go up against the familiar foes at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on June 10.
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Dele Alampasu (Cesarense FC, Portugal)
Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Ekong (KAA Gent, Belgium); Uche Agbo (CF Granada, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Gijon, Spain); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United FC)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Stephen Odey (MFM FC); Olanrewaju Kayode (FC Austria Wien, Austria); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Noah Serenren-Bazee (Hannover 96, Germany); Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg FC, Germany); Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC)
TO JOIN TEAM IN PARIS AFTER ENGLISH FA CUP FINAL
Ola Aina (Chelsea FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England)