Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr has made public his squad for the first international break in 2020 with the duo of Kingsley Ehizibue and Cyriel Dessers handed their first call ups.
The Germany and Holland-based duo headline a list of 24 players revealed on Wednesday ahead of the double-header against Sierra Leone in the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
Ehizibue has been in superb form for his Bundesliga side, Koln, while Dessers’ inclusion comes as little surprise following his outstanding display in the Eredivisie, where he is the top scorer with 15 goals.
?New Eagle Alert?
24-year-old Kingsley Ehizibue plays for Bundesliga side, FC Cologne. He's primarily a RIGHT-BACK, can also play RM & RW.
He was born in Munich; played for the Netherlands at youth level.
He's registered a goal and an assist in 21 apps for Koln this season. pic.twitter.com/98h6qllJ0b
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) March 4, 2020
Meanwhile, Trabzonspor star forward, Anthony Nwakaeme is a surprise exclusion, with the wide forward one of Nigeria’s most in form players at the moment.
Nwakaeme has scored nine goals and assisted a further six this season for his Super Lig side in Turkey in 21 outings but has once again been overlooked by Rohr.
However, Leon Balogun has earned a recall to the team following his impressive performance for Wigan.
Another veteran who is back in the team is captain, Ahmed Musa, with regular players like Victor Osimhen, Samuel Kalu, Daniel Akpeyi and Alex Iwobi also included.
Nigeria, who lead their group with six points from their opening two matches of the qualifiers, hosts the Leone Stars 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.
Victory in both games will virtually guarantee Nigeria a spot at the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Cameroon early next year, ahead of their away clash to Benin Republic in Porto Novo in June and home tie against Lesotho early September.
All invited players, as well as technical and administrative officials, are to report in the Delta State capital on Monday, 23rd March.
Full List of Invited Players and their clubs
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)