Coach Gernot Rohr has listed team captain Ahmed Musa, deputy captain Wlliam Ekong and 21 others for the Super Eagles’ FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 double qualifying encounters against the Central African Republic in Lagos and Douala next week. The Day 3 encounter will hold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Thursday, 7th October with the Day 4 match in Douala, Cameroon (presently the ‘home’ of Central African Republic national teams) on Sunday, 10th October.
With the maximum six points from their first two matches of the campaign (against Liberia in Lagos and against Cape Verde in Mindelo earlier this month), the Eagles countenance another six points against the central Africans and Franco-German Rohr has largely kept faith with the troops that delivered in a September to remember.
Goalkeepers Maduka Okoye, Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi return, just as defenders William Ekong, Abdullahi Shehu, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Jamilu Collins, Olaoluwa Aina and Kenneth Omeruo. Added to the rearguard now are Kevin Akpoguma, who missed the last games as a result of illness, and new call-up Calvin Ughelumba of Glasgow Rangers FC in Scotland.
With enforcers Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo out injured, the lot falls on Frank Onyeka and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo to replicate their firm handling of things in the middle in Mindelo, when Central African Republic comes calling on Thursday and in Douala on Sunday. Rohr has now listed England–based duo Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho in the midfield.
Captain Musa leads the line at the fore, with in-form France –based Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen, Chidera Ojuke, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Kalu also called.
Victory in both games will all but guarantee the Super Eagles’ passage to the all-important knockout rounds scheduled for March 2022, which will produce Africa’s five flagbearers in Qatar.
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands).
Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Calvin Ughelumba (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany).
Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Galsgow Rangers, Scotland); Innocent Bonke (Malmo FF, Sweden); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Kalu (FC Bordeaux, France); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia).