Ahead of the Super Eagles friendly games against Poland and Serbia, coach of the Nigerian national team Gernot Rohr is expected to name his squad for the friendly games which will keep the team in shape ahead of the World Cup in Russia in June.
Here, naijafootballplus.com’s Godson Chibuzor tries to preempt the Franco-German tactician by selecting a list of twenty three players who are most likely to make the cut.
The most problematic area of the team since former captain Vincent Enyeama retired and Wolverhampton Wanderers shot stopper Carl Ikeme was diagnosed with Leukamia.
Francis Uzoho: The Deportivo La Coruna youngster is obviously the favourite for many after he impressed against Argentina in November in a friendly Nigeria won by 4-2.
Uzoho who’s still 19, shone in two matches for the first team when he kept goal in the absence of first choice goalkeeper Ruben Martinez, he has since returned to the team B where he has maintained a regular spot.
With coach Gernot Rohr sending Enrico Pionetti, one of the Super Eagles goalkeeper trainers to work with the former U-17 Golden Eaglets keeper points to the direction the coach is heading for his preferred goal tender.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa: The Enyimba FC goalkeeper is back in training after he sustained an injury at the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in January where he helped Nigeria qualify for the final where they lost to host Morocco.
Daniel Akpeyi: The Chippa United of South Africa goalie has not impressed in games he has been selected to play for Nigeria, with his composure coming in for scrutiny but coach Gernot Rohr seems to always have him in mind and he would be expected to make the list again.
There are no shortages of capable defenders in the team with the regular faces still doing well while other contenders for spots have emerged.
Shehu Abdullahi: A regular for coach Gernot Rohr at right back of the Super Eagles, the former Anorthosis Famogusta and currently Bursaspor of Turkey defender is a shoe in to make the cut.
Tyrone Ebuehi: The light skinned Ado Deen Haag right back impressed against Argentina and is a reliable option as deputy to Shehu.
Ola Aina: Still only 20, Aina is currently on loan at English championship side Hull City from Chelsea, the versatile full back who is comfortable at right or left back, will be favoured to man the left back position.
Brian Idowu: Idowu, 25, plays as a left back for Russian league side FC Amkar Perm, and has an advantage of living and playing in the country where the World Cup would be taking place in the summer.
He made his debut for Nigeria in the Argentina friendly announcing himself with a goal after coming as a second half substitute.
William Troost-Ekong: The Buraspor Fc of Turkey central defender has been an ever present for coach Gernot Rohr since impressing at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil. Ekong was pivotal to the qualifications of Nigeria to the World Cup.
Leon Balogun: Partnering Ekong in central defense is non other than Balogun who completes the ‘Onyibo wall’ as the defensive pairing of the Super Eagles is now famously known as.
Chidozie Awaziem: Awaziem plays for French League 1 side Nantes FC and announced himself in the Argentina friendly in the central defense. Though he has since found himself relegated to the bench at Nantes, expect Rohr to name Awaziem in his squad.
Kenneth Omeruo: The last of our Super Eagles list of defenders is Omeruo, who plays for Kasimpasa in Turkey, on loan from Chelsea.
Gernot Rohr will not be lacking defensive midfielders, but creativity is where the trick lies, let’s see his options.
Mikel Obi: The former Chelsea midfielder who plays for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda needs no introduction. He has been the creative spark in the middle of the Super Eagles team. With the Chinese leagus season now underway, fitness wont be a problem for Mikel.
Ogenyi Onazi: Following immediately is the assistant captain Onazi. The Trabzonspor midfielder will add steel to Nigeria’s midfield.
Wilfred Ndidi: The Leicester City star is one of the best tacklers in Europe and adds to the rich holding midfield options in the team.
John Ogu: Ogu provides great physicality as well as good passing skills for a defensive midfielder, he plies his trade with Hopeal Beer Sheeva in Isreal.
Joel Obi: The Torino FC of Italy playmaker is one of the few natural creative midfielders and will be a great addition if fit and hands a call-up by Rohr.
Oghenekaro Etebo: Since moving to Las Palmas in the Spanish La Liga, the energetic midfielder has been in top form.
Loads of options are available for selection to coach Rohr, but there is no prolific goal scorer for their clubs.
Kelechi Iheanacho: The Leicester City player struggled for playing time and form earlier this season but he has since regained his form and has featured in recent matches for the Foxes. Iheanacho has been productive for the Super Eagles epitomised by his performance against Argentina.
Alex Iwobi: Iwobi whose goal against Zambia fired Nigeria to the World Cup, is a key component of Rohr’s world cup plans.
Odion Ighalo: The former Watford striker who plays in the Chinese Super League for Changchun Yatai has proven himself reliable as the arrow head of the Super Eagles attack. Like Mikel, Ighalo will see more action with the Chinese league season now back.
Victor Moses: Moses who plays in a more advanced attacking position for Nigeria is a senior member of the Super Eagles team and would certainly get a look in.
Moses Simon: The second Moses in the team, Simon was an ever present at the wings of the Super Eagles during the World Cup qualification. The Gent FC of Belgium star having returned from a lengthy injury, is expected to get a call up.
Other players expected to make the cut are
Ahmed Musa: The CSKA Moscow forward has found a new lease of life in the Russian league after a disastrous spell at Leicester City. The recent courtesy call on Musa in Russia by the coach Gernot Rohr probably seals his call up for the friendlies.
Junior Ajayi: Last time Ajayi was seen in a Nigeria jersey was when he won an Olympic bronze medal, he has been in superb form for Egyptian club Al Ahly and is being reported to be considered by Rohr.
Brown Ideye: It’s over a year since he featured for Nigeria, with his last appearance coming in Nigeria’s first group match against Zambia. With his issues with Chinese club Tianjin Teda now put to bed, Ideye has relaunched himself into contention for a spot in the team with some fine performances for Malaga following his loan transfer in January to the La Liga club.