Head Coach of the home-based Super Eagles squad, Salisu Yusuf has selected goalkeepers Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Dele Ajiboye, and 16 other players for this month’s West African Football Union Cup of Nations tournament for senior national teams taking place in Ghana.
Energetic midfielder Rabiu Ali and forward Kingsley Eduwo, who both scored as the Eagles prevailed 2-0 over Benin Republic in Kano to qualify for next year’s African Nations Championship, are also included alongside defenders Eze Stephen, Chima Akas, Osas Okoro and Emmanuel Ariwachukwu, and midfielders Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Samuel Mathias and Afeez Aremu.
Akwa United’s Gabriel Okechukwu and Ubong Friday, Katsina United Destiny Ashadi, Peter Eneji of NPFL leaders Plateau United and Lobi Stars’ prolific striker Anthony Okpotu are the new faces on board.
Nigeria will play Sierra Leone in the first round of the tournament (which is a knockout) before eight teams will emerge for a group phase competition. The competition takes place 9th – 24th September.
In the same Group A that has Nigeria, hosts Ghana will play The Gambia, Mali are up against Mauritania and Guinea Bissau will clash with Guinea.
Ghana and Nigeria have seven African titles between them, with the Super Eagles and the Black Stars featuring in the last two FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa (2010) and Brazil (2014).
All the teams in Group A will play in Takoradi, the twin city of Sekondi that also hosted matches during the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
Group B will compete in Cape Coast. 2015 African champions Cote d’Ivoire headline the pool that also has Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin Republic, with Liberia, Niger Republic, Togo and Cape Verde also involved.
2017 WAFU CUP OF NATIONS
GROUP A (Takoradi)
Ghana Vs The Gambia
Nigeria Vs Sierra Leone
Mali Vs Mauritania
Guinea Vs Guinea Bissau
GROUP B (Cape Coast)
Senegal Vs Liberia
Burkina Faso Vs Niger Republic
Cote d’Ivoire Vs Togo
Benin Republic Vs Cape Verde
FULL LIST OF SUPER EAGLES
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Defenders: Stephen Eze (FC IfeanyiUbah); Emmanuel Ariwachukwu (Akwa United); Chima Akas (Enyimba FC); Osas Okoro (Rangers International); Adeleye Olamilekan (FC IfeanyiUbah); Daniel James (Plateau United)
Midfielders: Afeez Aremu (Akwa United); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Samuel Mathias (El-Kanemi Warriors); Destiny Ashadi (Katsina United)
Forwards: Gabriel Okechukwu (Akwa United); Kingsley Eduwo (Lobi Stars); Peter Eneji (Plateau United); Ubong Friday (Akwa United); Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars)
Players are to report in Abuja on Wednesday for the trip to Ghana on Thursday, 7th September.