Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up two new players and dropped first choice goalkeeper at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Daniel Akpeyi, from the latest national team squad to face Ukraine in an international friendly.
Akpeyi was in goal for five of Nigeria’s seven matches at AFCON 2019 in Egypt, keeping two clean sheets in the group stage only to concede five goals in three knock-out stage matches as the Super Eagles eventually finished in third place.
In the absence of Akpeyi, Rohr has instead called up AFCON 2019 back-up goalkeepers, Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, while handing 19-year-old Maduka Okoye of German side, Fortuna Düsseldorf, a first invitation to the Super Eagles.
Along with Okoye, Rohr has also given Rangers of Scotland’s 23-year-old midfielder Joseph Aribo a first call up to the national team while Leicester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, makes a return to the fold after being left out of the squad to AFCON 2019.
Tyrone Ebuehi also returns to the squad having missed out of AFCON 2019 no thanks to injury, with Semi Ajayi also handed an invite after missing out of the final 23-man cut to Egypt as well.
Regulars such as Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, William Troost-Ekong have been called up, as well as Victor Osimhen and Henry Onyekuru who now ply their trade in French Ligue 1 with LOSC Lille and AS Monaco respectively.
Meanwhile, former captain John Mikel Obi and AFCON 2019 top scorer Odion Ighalo are missing after both players decided to hang up their boots on the international stage following Nigeria’s exploits in Egypt during the summer.
The Super Eagles players will face Ukraine in Dnipro on September 10, 2019, a month before kicking off the AFCON 2021 qualifying campaign at home to neighbours, Benin Republic, on November 11.
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