The home based Super Eagles contingent arrived the ancient city of Kano on Saturday afternoon as Head Coach Salisu Yusuf and his crew, countenance the beginning of preparations for the 5th African Nations Championship scheduled for Morocco from 13th January – 4th February 2018.
Yusuf, also Chief Coach of the Russia-bound A squad, has called up 30 players for the first phase of the preparations, in which the 2014 CHAN bronze medalists would test strength with the nation’s leading domestic clubs in the annual Super Six Tournament.
Super Eagles A team’s safe hands Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Stephen Eze, Osas Okoro and Adeleye Olamilekan, midfielders Afeez Aremu, Rabiu Ali and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi as well as forwards Kingsley Eduwo, Sikiru Olatubosun and Anthony Okpotu are among those who will battle for shirts.
The glamour Super Six Tournament, traditionally organized to set Nigeria’s flag-bearers in continental competitions in battle mood after the lull and inactivity of the post season break, will this year welcome NPFL reigning champions Plateau United, MFM FC, Akwa United FC, homers Kano Pillars and Enyimba FC, as well as the Super Eagles B.
The first matches are slated for Monday at the Sani Abacha Stadium, where the Eagles overpowered their counterparts from Benin Republic 2-0 on 19th August to qualify for the 5thAfrican Nations Championship.
Nigeria will tackle 2014 champions Libya, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea in the group stage at the 5th African Nations Championship. The matches of Group C will be played in Tangier.
Libya shocked the African football family by winning the 2014 edition in South Africa at the expense of Ghana, despite the North African nation being embroiled in political turmoil at the time. Rwanda was the last team to qualify for the finals, after edging Ethiopia 3-2 on aggregate in a play off that was necessitated by Egypt’s decision to forfeit her slot at the championship.
Equatorial Guinea qualified for the finals following the withdrawal of Gabon.
Hosts Morocco, Guinea, Sudan and Mauritania are in Group A, in the event pitting the Atlas Lions against Mauritania in the opening match of the competition, at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca on 13th January.
Hosts of the inaugural edition of the competition in 2009, Cote d’Ivoire head Group B that will be based in Marrakech, and have Zambia, Uganda and Namibia as group mates.
Group D, based in Agadir, has 2011 runners-up Angola, Cameroon, Congo and Burkina Faso.
30 CHAN EAGLES FOR SUPER SIX
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa; Dele Ajiboye; Theophilus Afelokhai
Defenders: Stephen Eze; Osas Okoro; Daniel Itodo; Adeleye Olamilekan; Kalu Orji Okogbue; Ifeanyi Nweke; Nasiru Sani; Timothy Danladi
Midfielders: Afeez Aremu; Raphael Ayagwa; Ifeanyi Ifeanyi; Rabiu Ali; Destiny Ashadi; Dayo Ojo; Emeka Atuloma; Douglas Achiv; Austine Oladapo; Abdulkadir Zango
Forwards: Sikiru Olatubosun; Kingsley Eduwo; Peter Eneji; Anthony Okpotu; Joseph Osadiaye; Sunday Faleye; Victor Mbaoma; Mustapha Ibrahim; Gabriel Okechukwu