The decision by Super Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr to pick only one home-based player in his 24-man list for this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin Republic and Lesotho have drawn the ire of many Nigerian football followers.
Nigeria is top of the Group E log in the qualifying series with eight points (one ahead of Benin Republic and five more than third-placed Sierra Leone). The Super Eagles will tackle the Squirrels away at the Stade Charles de Gaulle in Porto Novo on March 27 and will lock horns with the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos three days later. These are the concluding games of the qualifying series.
Contrary to the expectations of some Nigerians, Rohr released his list yesterday with Enyimba FC goalkeeper, John Noble, the only home-based player in the squad.
Some stakeholders, who spoke on the list yesterday, also frowned at the inclusion of Captain Ahmed Musa, who they described as ‘clubless.’ The speedy Super Eagles winger is without a club following his failure to get a contract with struggling West Brom in the January transfer window.
“How come Rohr picked only one home-based player, a goalkeeper, but settled for Musa who has no club,” one angry fan, Suleiman, asked on a radio sports programme in Lagos yesterday.
Among those who made Rohr’s 24-man list are Ahmed Musa (Unattached), deputy captain William Ekong, goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and forward Victor Osimhen.
Others are Enyimba FC goalkeeper John Noble, defenders Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo and Olaoluwa Aina, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, and forwards Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze.
Abdullahi Shehu is listed as a midfielder this time and there is a first senior call for Spain–based forward Sadiq Umar.
Seven players, including long–time goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, are on standby.
Abia Warriors player, Adekunle Adeleke, is also among those placed on standby.