While most of the usual suspects made the cut, there was a slight element of surprise as a number of familiar faces – Brown Ideye in particular – completely missed out.
As he’s done since assuming the job to years ago, the 64-year-old coach opted for a youthful side, injecting freshness with the likes of Kano Pillars’ goal machine, Junior Lokosa and Crotone’s Simeon Nwankwo.
Towering central defender, Stephen Eze, as well as fellow Chan 2018 revelation, goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye were also invited to camp which opens for the friendly match against DR Congo later this month.
Unsurprisingly, the preliminary list has triggered debates on the 23 players that should be on the plane to Russia.
Many fans are of the opinion that the coach should have expanded his pool of players for the pre-World Cup camp, while others believe certain players have no business being on the list.
Check out some of the ‘expert’ opinions of Nigerian fans on Twitter…
This list is so predictable….Dele Ajiboye drops out, stephen Eze n Awaziem drops out…Uche agbo drops out n stephen nwankwo n junior lokosa drops out while injury will drop d seventh player
— Captain DaVinci (@VinSoretire) May 14, 2018
I'll drop Elderson Echiejile without a blink. Aina should go thru his far better ahead
— Chris Nwaoyo🔥🔥 🔥 (@thachrismafia) May 14, 2018
Who's Lokosa and Simeon Nwankwo abeg?
— Victor Forlan (@Viqforlan) May 14, 2018
Good list…only wished our number 1 goal tender never caught up with sickness. I pray God heals you my dear most reliable goal keeper…
— TopKay (@Kola_Koladey) May 14, 2018
If not for injury I would have loved martins to have joined the train.still feel he has something left to give.experience,pace and goals. Good list .but I would have loved to have musa Mohammed in the list.
— uchenna diwe (@diweuche) May 14, 2018
Lokosa is going no where near Russia. Good achievement for him breaking into the 30-man provisional squad which was expected but that is his final bus-stop.
— David C.O.L. Michael (@07SuperNerd) May 14, 2018
Elderson Echiejile??? This dead left back going to the world Cup??? Sigh*
— Su (@dcodedboii) May 14, 2018
Ajayi > Lokosa
Ebere Eze > Mikel Agu/ Agbo
— Rashidi Yekinike 🇳🇬 (@FalseOF9) May 14, 2018
I thought we'll have a rookie player in there like an attacking midfielder. Fancied Kelechi Nwakali.
— Dick Jacob (@NDickJacob) May 14, 2018
Feel for Henry Onyekuru. But for injury, he should have made this list. I’m not sure what Akpeyi & Mikel Agu are doing there.
— CFA (@Gentle_Dove1) May 14, 2018
There you have it…tough being a coach here, or anywhere else at that.
We wait for the final 23-man list…