SUPER Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr may have to recall goalkeeper Francis Uzoho for his first game since he got injured in a friendly against Brazil last October after Lugano’s Sebastian Osigwe emerged as a doubt after testing positive for coronavirus.
Yesterday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) published a 24-man list of invitees who will prosecute the double-headed African Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Sierra Leone next month. On November 13, the Eagles will face the Leone Stars in Benin City and four days later will fly to Freetown for the return leg.
Osigwe, 26, has emerged as Lugarno’s number one this season, featuring in three of the club’s four league games so far. This earned him an Eagles call-up alongside Maduka Okoye and Daniel Akpeyi but his position is now under threat after the goalkeeper recently tested positive for coronavirus.
Coach Rohr’s 24-m,an list included fit-again trio Joe Aribo, Daniel Akpeyi and Oghenekaro Etebo, who all missed the October friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria. Victor Osimhen has also returned to the squad after he was barred from reporting for international duty in October because Napoli players were ordered into quarantine.
Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, West Bromwich Albion’s Semi Ajayi and Fulham’s Ola Aina have been selected as well as Watford’s William Troost-Ekong and Glasgow Rangers’ Leon Balogun. Francis Uzoho, Samson Tijani, Ramon Azeez, Abdullahi Shehu, Kelechi Nwakali, Paul Onuachu and Ikechukwu Ezenwa have been placed on standby in the event of injuries to players named in the original list.
With Osigwe at risk of missing out, Uzoho, who had to be stretchered off in October last year when he damaged his knee in a friendly against Brazil, may now be recalled. Having undergone surgery, Uzoho only returned to club action last week, when he featured in an FA Cup game for his club Apoel and if he gets recalled to replace Osigwe, it will be his first return to international action.
Osigwe is required to self-isolate for at least 10 days based on the Covid-19 guidelines in Switzerland. Yesterday, the NFF instructed that all players called up for the Sierra Leone games must report at the Protea Hotel Emotan in Benin City on Monday, November 9, meaning Osigwe faces a race against the clock to receive the all-clear to travel to Nigeria.
Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi, Maduka Okoye, Sebastian Osigwe
Defenders: Tyronne Ebuehi, William Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omeruo, Leon Balogun, Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem, Zaidu Sanusi, Ola Aina, Jamilu Collins, Kevin Akpoguma
Midfielders: Joe Aribo, Oghenekaro Etebo, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi
Strikers: Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Emmanuel Dennis, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Chidera Ejuke