Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi have been recalled by Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr for today’s pre-World Cup friendly against Argentina in Russia.
Mikel who was rested for Nigeria’s final qualification game against Algeria on Friday will lead out the three-time African champions against the Seleçion at the Krasnodar Stadium. His teammate at the Under-20s in 2005 and the 2016 Olympics, Akpeyi will be in goal in place of Ikechukwu Ezenwa who is endured a torrid evening in Constantine.
Akpeyi will be making his first appearance for the team since the ill-fated 2-0 loss to South Africa in a Nations Cup qualifier in June. He has been in impressive form for his South African side Chippa United this season, leading them to a sequence of seven unbeaten games until penultimate weekend.
Nantes of France defender Chidozie Awaziem also starts for the first time since the South Africa game and will play alongside trusted pair Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong as Rohr experiments with a 3-5-2 formation.
Nigeria’s lone goalscorer against Algeria, John Ogu keeps his place in the side and will play along side Wilfred Ndidi and captain Mikel in a 3-man midfield with Shehu Abdullahi and Ola Aina playing as right and left wing backs respectively.
Ogu’s club mate Anthony Nwakaeme is dropped to the bench, meaning that Leicester striker Kelechi Iheanacho will lead the line with Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi playing off him.
The match between Nigeria and Argentina will kick off at 5:30pm West African time today (Tuesday)
Akpeyi; Troost-Ekong, Awaziem, Balogun; Shehu, Ndidi, Ogu, Mikel, Aina; Iwobi; Iheanacho.