Mikel Obi returns as Rohr unveils 25-man provisional squad for Afcon 2019

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Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles technical adviser, has listed Mikel John Obi, Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo and Abdullahi Shehu in a 25-man squad to prepare for the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt this summer.

Rohr also placed six other players on standby.

Mikel was absent from the team following the Super Eagles 1-2 loss to Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

However, a recent meeting with Rohr in the United Kingdom sealed his return to the three–time African champions, with the possibility of adding to his 85 international caps.

Rohr has largely kept faith with the players who earned a ticket to the AFCON finals with a match to spare.

Specifically, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, defenders Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Wilfred Ndidi. Forwards Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Moses Simon are also on the roll-call.

Six players were also placed on standby. Among them are defenders Ikouwem Utin and Valentine Ozornwafor who have also been named in Nigeria’s final 21 for the FIFA U20 World Cup starting in Poland next week.

The 65-year-old tactician said he has included the two players knowing the FIFA U20 World Cup will end on June 15, six days before the first match will be played at the Afcon.

2018 FIFA World Cup defender Bryan Idowu is also on standby, alongside Portugal–based Mikel Agu, Egypt–based Junior Ajayi, and home–based goalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai.

All invited players and officials are to report at the Golden Tulip hotel, Asaba on Sunday, June 2, ahead of the friendly with the Warriors of Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi stadium on Saturday, June 8.

The team will depart for Egypt on Sunday, June 9, aboard a chartered aircraft.

The team will set up a final training camp in the city of Ismailia and tackle Africa’s number one–ranked team, Senegal in their final pre-Afcon friendly on Sunday, June 16.

Nigeria confront Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar in that order in Group B of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations taking place in four Egyptian cities from June 21 to July 19.

Twenty-five Super Eagles for 2019 Afcon

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Middlesbrough FC, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjyland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain)

Six On Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)

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