• As Mikel storms Uyo Tuesday
BY JOE APU
Watford of England striker, Odion Igalo leads early arrivals of foreign-based player, as Nigeria’s senior men’s squad, Super Eagle opens camp in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State today for Saturday’s 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Tanzania.
To ensure that all arrangements are in place, the NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme had arrived the Akwa Ibom State capital on Friday ahead of the team’s assistant coaches and backroom staff due in town on Monday morning.
Home –boys: Emmanuel Daniel, Ikechukwu Ezenwa (goalkeepers) and Jamiu Alimi (defender) are also expected in Uyo on Monday alongside a number of overseas –based professionals, including defender, William Troost-Ekong and forward, Odion Ighalo.
Team captain, Mikel John Obi, fresh from leading the Nigeria U23 to Olympic bronze in Brazil, is expected to arrive at the team’s Le Meridien Hotel on Tuesday.
Both the Super Eagles and Taifa Stars have little other than pride to battle for in Saturday’s game, as Egypt’s Pharaohs had already picked the lone ticket from the group to Gabon. But the Eagles and their new Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr will use the match as a rehearsal for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Series Matchday 1 clash with Zambia in Ndola on 8th October.
The result at the Akwa Ibom International Stadium on Saturday will not count, but the outcome of the encounter at the Levy Nwanawasa Stadium in Ndola five weeks later will set the tone for the Super Eagles’ World Cup qualifying campaign.
Team officials confirmed to thenff.com on Sunday that Franco-German Rohr, who keenly followed Nigeria’s campaign at the Rio 2016 Olympics and travelled to Spain to see the country’s domestic stars in a couple of friendly matches against Spanish La Liga sides, would also be in Uyo on Monday.
Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah)
Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Troost-Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); Jamiu Alimi (Kano Pillars); Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal); Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey); Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia)
Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Nosa Igiebor (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Imoh Ezekiel (Al-Arabi Sporting Club, Qatar), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England); Brown Ideye (Olympiacos FC, Greece); Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg FC, Germany).