Nigeria Professional Football League top scorer Junior Lokosa was surprise inclusion in the provisional list of thirty players called up by Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr ahead of next month’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Lokosa has scored eighteen goals in twenty appearances for his league side Kano Pillars, a phenomenal record in the history of Nigeria’s domestic football. He has thus been rewarded with a chance to fight for a place on the plane to Russia.
The usual suspects, led by captain John Mikel Obi, Chelsea star Victor Moses and Germany based defender Leon Balogun were also included in the squad of thirty players which had four goalkeepers including two from the Nigerian league; Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye.
German, Rohr stuck with majority of the squad he called up for recent friendlies against Poland and Serbia in Wrocslaw and London respectively but with the exception of Al Ahly forward Junior Ajayi whose place might have been taken by Crotone star Simeon Nwankwo.
Nwankwo announced his arrival to the scene with an acrobatic goal against Juventus last month and has since found the back of the net with considerable regularity, also scoring against Lazio in a Serie A game on Sunday.
Nigeria will face Congo DR in Port Harcourt on May 28 in the first of their remaining pre-World Cup friendlies which include a June 2 date with England in Wembley. The Super Eagles will face Croatia in Kaliningrad on June 16 in their Group D opening game.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba)
Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United)
Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna)
William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor)
Leon Balogun (Mainz 05)
Olaoluwa Aina (Chelsea)
Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa)
Brian Idowu (Amkar Pam)
Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes)
Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor)
Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge)
Tyrone Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag)
Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv)
John Mikel Obi (Tianjin TEDA)
Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor)
John Ogu (Hapoel Beer’Sheva)
Wilfried Ndidi (Leicester City)
Uche Ago (Standard Liege)
Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas)
Joel Obi (Torino)
Mikel Agu (Bursaspor)
Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai)
Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow)
Victor Moses (Chelsea)
Alex Iwobi (Arsenal)
Kelechi Iheancho (Leicester City)
Moses Daddy Simon (KAA Gent)
Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars)
Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone)