Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Gabriel Osho of Luton Town called up for Nigeria Super Eagles

Luton Town's Gabriel Osho was handed his first international call up by Nigeria, along with Benjamin Ihefu of Tanzanian club Ihefu SC, for two friendlies against Ghana and Mali later this month.

Osho, 25, was born in England to Nigerian parents and is among 27 players called up by Nigeria for the tune up games, which will be played in Morocco.

But the Premier League defender could be doubtful for the games after being taken off late with a knee injury in the Hatters' 1-1 Premier League draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Returning to the squad, which is largely populated by returnees from the Africa Cup of Nations, is midfield general Wilfred Ndidi, who missed the tournament with injury.

The Leicester star leads a bunch of other returnees, including defenders Jamilu Collins and Tyronne Ebuehi, midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru, as well as forwards Nathan Tella, Cyriel Dessers of Glasgow Rangers, and Nottingham Forest's Taiwo Awoniyi.

But there was no place for skipper Ahmed Musa, who recently parted ways with his Turkish club. Vice-captain WIlliam Troost-Ekong is also missing with a season-ending injury that he picked up during the tournament.

Nigeria are currently without a coach, after Jose Peseiro's contract lapsed at the end of February. The Portuguese and the NFF could not come to an agreement on a new contract and the federation have since begun the search for a new coach.

It is expected that Technical Director Augustin Eguavoen will lead the team to Morocco while the NFF continue their search for a permanent coach to replace Peseiro.

Nigeria take on arch rivals Ghana on March 22 at the Grand Stade de Marrakech in the first of the double-header friendly. Both teams last met in March 2022 in a two-legged play-off for a place at that year's FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar, with the Black Stars edging the fixture on the away-goal rule after a 1-1 aggregate.

Four days later, they play Mali at the same venue. Both sides last clashed in a friendly match in Rouen, France in the summer of 2016. The encounter ended scoreless. Three years earlier, Mali's Eagles lost 1-4 to the Super Eagles in the semifinal of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, who went on to win the title in Johannesburg.

By Colin Udoh, ESPN

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