World Cup Special: Meet The 23 Super Eagle Players Flying To Russia
From 30 to 25, and now, we have Gernot Rohr’s final World Cup squad comprising 23 players.
Take a look at the anointed soldiers heading to Russia to fight for Nigeria.
Francis Uzoho (19, Deportivo La Coruna) Five caps
The former Golden Eaglets reserve goalie made his Eagles debut in a 4-2 win over Argentina in November 2017. He is expected to be the first choice in Russia.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (29, Enyimba) 24 caps
Ezenwa was a first-choice goalie for the Super Eagles during the World Cup qualifiers, playing four of the games. He plays for Enyimba in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Daniel Akpeyi (31, Chippa United) Seven caps
Akpeyi was in goal against Algeria in the World Cup qualifiers. Below par performances relegated him to the second choice of the team but he is a good goalkeeper on his day.
Bryan Idowu (26, Amkar Perm) Four caps
Some have considered him the answer to Nigeria’s problematic left-back position, but is he really the Messiah?
Once a winger, now converted into a left-back, Idowu’s pace and power have been key for Amkar Perm in the Russian Premier League.
Shehu Abdullahi (25, Bursaspor) 24 caps
Abdullahi is a pacy utility player, who is adept at either right back or central midfield. He played four games in the qualifiers.
Chidozie Awaziem (21, FC Porto) Four caps
Awaziem is yet to establish himself as a first choice at centre back. The Porto star is a player for the future.
Leon Balogun (29, Brighton & Hove Albion) 18 caps
He plays mainly as a central defender for Nigeria but can also be used at right back. An injury cost him his place in the 2014 World Cup squad.
Elderson Echiejille (30, Cercle Brugge) 58 caps
One of the stars of the Flying Eagles in the 2007 World Youth Championship, Echiejille has in the past few years become a regular in the senior team. He also played at the 2010 World Cup. His career has waned recently.
William Troost-Ekong (24, Bursaspor) 21 caps
Troost-Ekong is a hard-tackling centre-back who was outstanding for Nigeria in 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Kenneth Omeruo (24, Chelsea) 38 caps
Omeruo signed for Chelsea from Standard Liege in January 2012 and almost immediately, he went on loan to Dutch top-flight side ADO Den Haag.
He made his international debut against Cape Verde in 2013, having been fast-tracked from junior level. He was a regular in Brazil 2014.
Tyronne Ebuehi (22, Benfica) Six caps
An overlapping fullback with so much intelligence. He was too good for Rohr to ignore.
John Ogu (30, Hapoel Beer Sheva) 19 caps
In March 2013, Ogu was called up to the national team for a 2014World Cup qualifier. He debuted against Kenya in a 1-1 draw, where he was used as a substitute to replace an injured Victor Moses. He has been a regular ever since.
Ogenyi Onazi (25, Trabzonspor) 52 caps
Onazi is a hardworking midfielder with a penchant for long-range goals. His position in the middle of the park is now under threat following below-par displays in recent games.
John Obi Mikel (30, Tianjin Teda) 84 caps
Mikel is Nigeria’s most regular and consistent performer over the last 12 years. He played all four games for the Super Eagles in the 2014 World Cup.
Oghenekaro Etebo (22, CD Feirense) 14 caps
Asides from being hardworking, Etebo is known for making important runs into the box from midfield and helping to complete attacking moves.
Wilfred Ndidi (21, Leicester) 16 caps
His work rate and technical ability have been widely praised. Ndidi had his football education at Nath Boys in Nigeria. He is known for his versatility and can play across the backline and in midfield. He is a box-to-box midfielder who is able to support defensive play and feed attackers.
Joel Obi (27, Torino) 17 caps
He made a return to the national side in a friendly game against Poland after four years in the wilderness. His major achilles heel is injury.
Alex Iwobi (22, Arsenal) 18 caps
Skilful and fast on the ball, Iwobi emerged as a top talent for Arsenal this season. He has netted five goals in 18 appearances for Nigeria.
Ahmed Musa (24, Leicester City) 71 caps
After a torrid time in his first six months at Leicester City, the forward was loaned to CSKA Moscow where he scored six goals in 10 matches. Musa was named in Stephen Keshi’s squad for the 2014 World Cup. He scored two goals in the team’s final group F match, a 3-2 defeat to Argentina.
Odion Ighalo (28, Changchun Yatai) 18 caps
Odion is expected to be Eagles’ arrowhead in Russia. With his rich vein of form for Changchun Yatai in the Chinese Super League, he is capable of making things happen in Russia.
Victor Moses (27, Chelsea) 33 caps
Moses was average at the 2014 World Cup. He will be out to prove his doubters wrong this time around. He scored three goals in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo (26, Crotone) One cap
The lanky striker recently made his debut for Nigeria in an international friendly against DR Congo. Simy scored seven goals for Crotone in the 2017/18 Serie A season.
Kelechi Iheanacho (21, Leicester City) 17 caps
The 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup Golden Boot and MVP winner has netted eight goals in 17 appearances for the Super Eagles. His stats looks good ahead of Russia 2018.