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Published On: Tue, Oct 2nd, 2018

Again, Mikel missing as Rohr releases Libya AFCON qualifier squad

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By Amaechi Agbo

Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi is once again excluded as Gernot Rohr releases list of invited players for the double header African Cup of Nations, AFCON qualifier against Libya.
In the 24-man list made public yesterday, Super Eagles’ handler, Gernot Rohr invited in-form Ahmed Musa and 23 other players for this month’s double-take 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Libya’s Mediterranean Knights.
Mikel was earlier ruled out of last month’s clash with Seychelles due to match fitness concerns after the Tianjin Teda players recovered from injury few weeks to the crunch tie.
It is the third time on the bounce that the 31-year-old will be absent due to an injury from the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, having missed a 2-0 opening home loss to South Africa in June 2017.
Traditionally, Rohr did not find any NPFL player worthy of call up as the foreign players will slug it out with the Libyans who pulled a goalless draw against South Africa in the Matchday two of the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who has been with the team since Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers, is the only home-based professional in the list.
Arsenal FC of England forward Alex Iwobi (who scored the goal against Zambia that qualified Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the same venue a year ago), will return alongside Italy –based duo William Ekong and Olaoluwa Aina. All three missed the 3-0 win over Seychelles in Mahe last month due to injury.
China –based forward Odion Ighalo and Russia –based defender Bryan Idowu are also among the pack that has been called to hunt for the six maximum points against Group E leaders Libya in the Matchday 3 and 4 games. Nigeria host the first leg at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Saturday, 13th October with the return scheduled for the 18,000 –capacity Stade Taïeb Mhiri in the city of Sfax, Tunisia on Tuesday, 16thOctober.
Also back is effervescent winger Moses Simon (edged out of the World Cup party by injury). Former junior international Isaac Success is called but Italy –based Simeon Nwankwo, who was in Seychelles and scored against Liberia in a friendly last month, is omitted. 2015 U17 World Cup –winning captain Kelechi Nwakali is also overlooked.
All invited players are to report in the Akwa Ibom State capital on Monday, 8thOctober 2018.

The Full List
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Elche FC, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr FC, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante FC, Italy); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England)

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