Mikel Returns as Rohr Names 25-man Afcon Squad

Super Eagles skipper John Obi Mikel returns to the team as head coach Gernot Rohr named a 25-man squad to prepare for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.

Mikel has been absent from the team since their 1-2 loss to Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

But the 32-year-old midfield maestro makes his return to the side after a meeting with Rohr in London last week.

The Franco-German coach has largely kept faith with the players who earned a ticket to the AFCON finals with a match to spare, while six players are placed on stand-by.

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.

Three-time African champions 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.

The 25-man Eagles Squad:

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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