Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has called up IfeanyiUbah defender Adeleye Aniyikaye for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg and the friendly against Uganda at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, on November 20, three days after the AFCON clash.
Aniyikaye’s invitation comes after the media criticised Rohr for persistently excluding the Nigeria Professional Football League players from his plans.
Save for Enyimba goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who’s also been invited for both games, the home-based stars have been largely overlooked by the German coach since he took charge of the Eagles two years ago.
Strong and imposing, Aniyikaye has been part of the Super Eagles Team B. He was part of the squad at the 2017 WAFU Cup but missed out of the 2018 African Nations Championship due to an injury he copped preparatory to the tournament.
Also invited are U-17 World Cup winners Victor Osimhen, who makes a return to the team after a long time out, and Samuel Chukwueze.
Winger Chukwueze, who plays for Villarreal in La Liga, made his first team debut for the Yellow Submarine in September, coming on as a substitute in a 2–2 home draw against Glasgow Rangers in the UEFA Europa League.
Midfielder Mikel Agu, who was part of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, also returns to the squad but captain Mikel Obi has again been left out despite scoring for Tianjin TEDA against Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Super League on Sunday.
Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who is ineligible for the match after bagging two yellow cards in the away matches against Seychelles and Libya, has been left out.
On standby are Henry Onyekuru, Chidozie Awaziem, as well as homeboys Nyima Nwagua (Kano Pillars); Sunday Adetunji (Enyimba) and striker Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars).
Olaoluwa Aina, William Ekong, Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo are included among eight defenders; Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu are listed among three midfielders and stand-in captain Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo, Samuel Kalu and Alex Iwobi are among nine forwards.
Nigeria, top of Group E of the series with nine points, battle second-place South Africa with eight points at the FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on November 17 in one of the Matchday 5 fixtures.
Victory in the top-of-the-table clash will automatically send the Eagles to the finals in Cameroon, leaving the second ticket in the group for Bafana and Libya to battle for.
The Super Eagles will fly from Johannesburg to Asaba on November 18 for the friendly with the Cranes on November 20.