SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has recalled Odion Ighalo to his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde taking place later this month despite criticism of what is seen as a retrograde step.
On November 13, the Super Eagles will face the Lone Star of Liberia at the Grand Stade Tangier in Morocco on Saturday and then fly into Lagos for the final group game against Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks at the Teslim Balogun Stadium on Tuesday, November 16. Mr Rohr has invited 24 players to camp to prosecute both matches, including Ighalo, despite even the player’s caution against such a hasty decision.
Ighalo, 32, retired from international football after the last Africa Cup of Nations when he emerged as the top scorer. He has since joined Saudi Arabian clubside Al-Shabab Riyadh, where he is hoping to play out the rest of his career but suddenly out of the blue has been recalled by Mr Rohr due to an injury to Nigeria’s main striker Victor Osimhen.
Very conservative in nature, Mr Rohr is not prepared to try out any of the new crop of strikers like Taiwo Awoniyi, Paul Onuachu, Emmanuel Dennis or Terem Moffi as his targetman. A coach who is very reluctant to change his squad, even when things are going badly, Mr Rohr has proven this point by sticking with the likes of Ahmed Musa, William Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo Leon Balogun and Daniel Akpeyi, despite have younger alternatives at his disposal.
Apart from Osimhen, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is still recovering from injury and it is not yet clear if he will feature in the two games. However, Everton’s Alex Iwobi and Villareal winger Samuel Chukwueze are both back from injury for the games.
Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
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); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)
Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Galsgow Rangers, Scotland); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)
Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Odion Jude Ighalo (Al-Shabab Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)