Nigeria have announced a final squad of 20 players to face Benin Republic in an African Nations Championships qualifier in Cotonou this weekend.
Team captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa and first choice goalkeeper at the last CHAN tournament in Rwanda tops the list of the locally based professionals selected by head coach Salisu Yusuf and announced by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday.
Akwa United have the highest number of players in the final list as their quartet of Alhassan Ibrahim, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Afeez Aremu and Emmanuel Ariwachukwu all made the final shortlist.
Nigeria Professional Football League topscorer Stephen Odey is also included alongside captain in 2016 Chima Akas who plays for former African champions Enyimba. Akas’ Enyimba teammate Mfon Udoh tops the lost of dropped players although the NPFL record goalscorer was said to be ruled out due to an undisclosed injury.
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Five of the selected player represented Nigeria in Rwanda and the Super Eagles will be banking on their experience when they take to the pitch this weekend in the first leg of their 2018 qualifiers against Benin Republic.
The team is expected to fly out of their camp base in Kano, Northern Nigeria for Lagos from where they will travel to Cotonou by road.
The first leg clash comes up at the Stade de l’Amitie in Cotonou on Sunday with the return leg in Kano on August 20.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC), Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Right back: Osas Okoro (Rangers International)
Left backs: Chima Akas (Enyimba FC); Nasiru Sani (Katsina United)
Centre backs: Orji Kalu (Rangers International); Stephen Eze (FC IfeanyiUbah); Ariwachukwu Emmanuel (Akwa United)
Defensive Midfielders: Afeez Aremu (Akwa United) Raphael Ayagwa (Lobi Stars);
Central Midfielders: Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars)
Attacking Midfielders: Samuel Mathias (El-Kanemi Warriors), Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United)
Right-footed wingers: Thomas Zenke (Nasarawa United);
Left-footed wingers: Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC)
Strikers: Ifeanyi George (Rangers International), Kingsley Eduwo (Lobi Stars) and Stephen Odey (MFM FC).