Friday, October 30, 2015

Obafemi Martins and Kelechi Iheanacho join Super Eagles squad

Strikers Obafemi Martins and Kelechi Iheanacho are in Nigeria's squad to face Swaziland in a two-legged World Cup qualifier in November.

"It was a bit of a shock, but a nice shock," Martins, who was last called up in March 2013, told BBC Sport.

"I'm very happy, because I have always worked hard, supported and respected all the players picked by the coaches."

Iheanacho has been selected only days after starring for Manchester City in the cup win over Crystal Palace.

The 19-year-old scored and made two assists in his side's 5-1 victory on Wednesday, a performance which brought high praise from his club manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh needed to bring in strikers following the recent decision by Emmanuel Emenike to retire from internationals.

Martins last played for his country in March 2013 for a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Kenya.

Despite being his country's most in-form striker last year, alongside Ikechukwu Uche, he was omitted from the Brazil 2014 squad.

However his good form has continued this season - he has struck 15 goals for MLS side Seatlle Sounders - and Martins is determined to make the most of his Super Eagles recall.

"I thank coach Oliseh for this great opportunity. I'm just looking forward to going out there and playing for Nigeria again," he said.

Another player returning to the international fold is Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, who missed Nigeria's last competitive game against Tanzania in September due to suspension.

Former Nigeria international Oliseh has also kept faith in English Premier League trio of John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi.

But there is no place in the squad for Kenneth Omeruo or West Ham's Victor Moses, who pulled out of Nigeria's friendlies against DR Congo and Cameroon two weeks ago.

Swaziland will host the first leg of the World Cup qualifier in Lobamba on 13 November, with the return leg at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt four days later.

The winner will advance to the final group phase to decide Africa's five representatives at the tournament in Russia.

Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars); Dele Alampasu (Club de Sportivo Feirense, Portugal)

Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal); Kalu Orji (Enugu Rangers FC); Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France); Chima Akas (Sharks FC); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz, Germany); Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); Efe Ambrose (Celtic FC, Scotland); Austin Oboroakpo (Abia Warriors)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Paul Onobi (Sunshine Stars); John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England); Rabiu Ibrahim (AS Trencin, Slovakia); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Sylvester Igbonu (FC UFA, Russia)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England); Ezekiel Bassey (Enyimba FC); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders, USA); Kelechi Iheanacho (Man City, England)


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