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Aina, Agu Dropped As Rohr Names Final Super Eagles World Cup Squad; Obi, Simy Included

Aina, Agu Dropped As Rohr Names Final Super Eagles World Cup Squad; Obi, Simy Included

By James Agberebi:

The duo of Ola Aina and Mikel Agu were the two players dropped as coach Gernot Rohr released his final 23-man squad for this summer’s FIFA World Cup on Sunday.

The 23-man squad was confirmed on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) verified Twitter handle on Sunday morning.

Joel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi who were heavily criticized for their performance in the Super Eagles’ 2-1 loss to England in Saturday’s friendly however made the list.

In the list is Crotone striker Simeone Nwankwo who only made his international debut for the Super Eagles in their 1-1 draw against Democratic Republic of Congo in Port Harcourt last Monday.

Also included are the trio of Tyronne Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem and Bryan Idowu.

Notable names like skipper John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo and Ahmed Musa made the cut.

The only Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) on the list is Ikechukwu Ezenwa who is one of the three goalkeepers selected.

The Super Eagles next friendly comes up in Austria on Wednesday against Czech Republic.

Their opening game at the World Cup is against Croatia on June 16.

Super Eagles 23-man squad for 2018 World Cup:


Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Francis Uzoho
Daniel Akpeyi


Leon Balogun
William Troost-Ekong
Kenneth Omeruo
Bryan Idowu
Chidozie Awaziem
Shehu Abdullahi
Elderson Echiejile
Tyronne Ebuehi


Mikel Obi
Ogenyi Onazi
Joel Obi
John Ogu
Wilfred Ndidi
Oghenekaro Etebo


Odion Ighalo
Ahmed Musa
Victor Moses
Alex Iwobi
Kelechi Iheanacho
Simeon Nwankwo

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  • Oscar 3 years ago

    Mikel Agu wasn’t supposed to make the list initial. Aina remained in camp because of his club pedigree.
    Best squad based on what we have.

  • ako amadi 3 years ago

    The Obi and Onazi dismal show at Wembley is not indicative of how they will perform during the World Cup. We all failed tests at school and redoubled our efforts on teacher’s correction. This final selection will take the pressure and anxiety off the shoulders of selected players. It’s a pity players have to be dropped, but there’s always another day.

  • Chrismoss ezeh 3 years ago

    Am highly disappointed, what will onazi and joel obi bring to the team after their rusty display yesterday, I don’t understand their inclusion to the team, what is the coach up to….na wa for 9ja shaa.

    • Okeren Kelvin 3 years ago

      Suggest who in team presently you want as replacement

  • Chrismoss ezeh 3 years ago

    Onazi should have been dropped. He is not a good mildfielder , I prefer the agu abeg, onazi makes costly mistakes he is not intelligent with balls.

  • Why drop Ola Aina? I think Joel one did not deserve to make the list, Aina played well in the qualifiers and his game is well rounded, we will miss his intelligence and fitness at the world cup.

    Maybe seniority was used against him, Mark my words Joel obi’contribution at the world will be suspect

  • Apst. Udo 3 years ago

    I love the zeal of Ola Aina. He has been such a patriotic fellow and couple with his age,I am poised he will go far. Elderson Echiechile’s experience just played out. But for me, our team will build on the likes if Ola in years to come.
    Mikel Agu, just go and improve your game. Read game tactics and luck will come your way again.
    If our squad plays the way they pursued the England team in the 2nd Half, we will go far. All the same, let’s support the team.

  • I like my super eagles to there performances for yesterday

  • Tipsy 3 years ago

    Onazi and joel obi are nothing but a waste of boiled expire beans they need to explain to the coach that they are too old to go to the world cup, nigeria is always a joke in everything they do

  • Abdul andah 3 years ago

    I strongly believe that Mikel agu is far better than Onazi+obi of yesterday.
    One of the major problems of Nigerian footballer is age cheat and and I think that’s what’s telling on Onazi and Joel obi.
    I fervently pray that ndidi comes back fitter and stronger like never before.
    Gernot Rohr should find a means of playing iwobi behind the strikers. I have said this time without number. That’s his best position to get the best from him just that I noticed that he most at times get tired before 75 minutes.
    Shehu Abdul should be taken back to his normal position , in the midfield while onazi goes to serve as a deputy for tyronne ebuehi.
    I still feel super eagles will qualify from that difficult group.

    • Fortesam 3 years ago

      Nigerians nawa for ona o. Few days back everyone was clamoring for Mikel agu to be dropped. Today everybody wants Mikel agu back. Ona dey try sha

  • Ola Aina will feel used after he has gone through the qualification series…rohr keeps playing him out of positions and he expects the lad to deliver this things are not sign….Joel onions shouldn’t have made the list ola Aina is still young take him let him gain experience…

  • KUdos to rohr, thought he would be forced to drop Joel. Joel is not really a bad footballer, its just that he hasnt fit in into the midfield movements of the super eagles. i have closely monitored his games in the serie a, esp in games against top oppositions like juv and inter. he played well on the left hand side of the midfield. However in a 3-5-2 formation Joel should be drafted to the left wing back, while moses moves to RWB, Our two forwards can be Ighalo/simy and kelechi, while the midfield three can be Iwobi, Mikel and Ndidi, balogun, troost AND IDOWU should complete the back three

  • Heya! Ola Aina I’m so sorry! I had that feeling that so gonna be dropped because you haven’t got much quality needed to be in that them. But I love you because of your patriotism. Just keep on doing what you know doing best and hopefully by God’s grace you will make Afcon 2019 and the Qatar 2022 if we qualify. Love from uncle Samuel London.

  • Fidel 3 years ago

    The exclusion of Aina and the inclusion of Echiejile is the only surprise. What is the value that Echeijile brings that Aina doesn’t? Anyhow, good luck NAIJA!!

  • @dotun At this age Mikel can’t do defensive duty wrong formation sir use etebo, Mikel n ndidi guys who can do d damage for Mikel not guys that will suffer him like we saw yesterday in the first half

  • Ayphillydegreat 3 years ago

    Kudos to the gaffer 3 gbosas for Rohr. Nigeria doesn’t really have anything better than this anywhere at the moment. We have six players that’d been to the WorldCup and are AFCON winners. Those experience of a fighter and winning mentality will come handy in Russia. Mikel Agu is not better than any of Onazi, Obi and Ogu. He’s been rightly dropped. Those are the best Midfield sextet we can boast of at the moment. Even though Rohr’s scouts goofed big time on Kelechi Nwakali.

    From my observation of our game against England, this present SuperEagles can only thrive with a 3-5-2 formation that turns into 5-3-2 when defending. We used that system to spectacular effect against Argentina. Against Poland we used the 4-2-3-1 to win the game, but the SuperEagles were mostly under pressure. When we switch to 3-5-2 against England we matched them and took over control of the game by responding with a goal.

    Gernot Rohr now only needs to figure out his best combinations and the best starting 11 for that formation because that to me is our joker at the Mundial. We’ve matched up two top class oppositions that are WorldCup winners playing that way. If we really want to make it out of that group, they have to begin getting used to the 3-5-2 formation. #FLY LIKE AN EAGLE INTO THE FUTURE#

    • Fqtee 3 years ago

      I agree with you bro, 3-5-2 is d winning formation for naija, I hope Rohr can piece together the best fit of players for ds formation…..

  • Fablos 3 years ago

    Everybody is a coach in nigeria….na wa o…drop this one today,tomorrow drop d other one….if onazi can make the team to russia then joel obi also merits his sit on the plane…..u dont judge players based on two odd 45 minutes….if na so mourinho for don sell pogba since na…..Nigeria will do well @ d mundial thats all i know…..for all of u crying that they should drop obi n onazi thank God sai ena no be coach,you all should cry me a river….rohr doesnt care about the tears he has chosen d best…..

  • Good Team. God bless Nigeria.

  • Presh 3 years ago


  • Abdulrazak 3 years ago

    Now that Gernot Rohr has settled on his troops to Russia, the most important thing in my opinion is how do you deploy the personell for optimum performance and positive results. Which system is the players most happy and comfortable with.
    We played a rigid system in the first half vs England yesterday but once we switched at half time we saw a much more fluid and better Nigeria. Whatever formation and tactics that Rohr settles on will depend on how best the players respond during the last stage of the camping exercise.
    One thing i know is that whichever team we play in Russia should be ready to die on the pitch because the Nigerian team is physical.

  • Abiodun 3 years ago

    Not bad but if the friendly is an indication of what to expect, then am a bit afraid. The team was dismantled in the first fourth five minute and minus the early goal, we friend but were not too effective in the second half. God help us though. Croatia are really dangerous and a counter attacking side, Iceland would also be and Argentina would try to exploit us while being dominant. Tactics wise Mr Rohr hasn’t done much. Though these are friendly matches

    • Fortesam 3 years ago

      Mr Rohr has not done well tactically, really? A coach that saw a bad first half performance and changed the tactics in the second half has not done well tactically? Bros I hail O.

  • Thaddeus 3 years ago

    Thumbs up our beloved coach. Ur selection is cute. I believe that u are really monitoring these our boys and discovering their SWOTs, is, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and Threats.May God grant u and the boys the wisdom to showcase a wonderful outing IJN! AMEN

  • Fortesam 3 years ago

    Compared to the squad of 2014, I think we are going to Russia with a stronger squad.

  • Now! The final 23 is out! This is not the time to complain. .this one should be there , that supposed to be out…No! What they need now is our support. Not all of them will play in the tournament. …that I’m sure. What we need to focus on now is how we’ll detect our first 11. Joel never plays bad in d past until now and we all know it’s due to d injuries. I believe he’ll pick up when he pairs with better midfielders. Don’t be surprised if he ends the tournament as a left back. I’m so surprised d way Nigerians quickly forgets the way Mike Agu plays just because of yesterday.

  • What I will say is……no matter what happens, Nigerians will never be satisfied…..

  • This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

    I was here in the naming of the final 23 man squad 4 years ago and I am here again now.

    As we slowly but surely approach Nigeria’s first match on the 14th of May, I now call on you football-loving Nigerians at home and abroad to put all your differing opinions aside and unite behind this team, this coaching crew and this NFF.

    Spare sometime to show gratitude to those players who started this journey on the 13th of November 2015 – from Efe Ambrose (who dropped out very early despite scoring against Swaziland on 17 November 2015) to Moses Simon (a player after my heart) who only dropped out recently (he coincidentally also scored against Swaziland on 17 November 2015).

    Regardless of how skilful or otherwise that these players may be, true fans will never forget their contributions to arrive at where we are today.

    So on behalf of all fans, THANK YOU TO ALL THE DROPPED PLAYERS.

    To the task at hand, I am praying that this team reaches the quarter-finals at least; any other thing will be a bonus.

    Let’s face it, if Cameroon can do it, if Senegal can do it, if Ghana (my bitterest rivals) can do it, so can the great Super Eagles of the great Nigeria.

    God bless Super Eagles, God bless the fans and God bless Nigeria…..

  • U c dis groundnut coach done go drop Aina nor worry na so 9ja go drop u after ur three games.


    Here is my SWOT analysis for the final 23 man Squad:

    STRENGHTS: In Musa, Moses,Iwobi etc, there are more than enough pace, acceleration creativity and goals down the flanks to cause problems to any opposing defence. In Ndidi, Ogu, Mikel etc, there are ample solidity, disruptive capabilities, back-four protection and calmness to our centre midfield department.

    As a team, the Super Eagles as a whole is geater than the sum of its parts with strong team spirit, camaraderie and resoluteness.

    WEAKNESSES: The youthful nature of the squad will be seen as a key weakness in the eyes of our opponents. The likes of Iheanacho and Iwobi will be seen as easy targets to dispossess off the ball by older opponents. The goalkeeping department may also be seen as a weak-point. Regardless of which goalkeeper is selected, The Modrics, Ronaldos and Gareth Bales of this world will seek to test (Akpeyi (error prone) Uzoho (inexperience and youth) Ezenwa (raw and inexperience)) them with technical shots of the highest quality from any (or even least expected) areas of the pitch as they do in Champions League matches. ***My Caveat to this perceived weakness is that I have confidence in the extensive preparations of Rohr’s goalkeeper trainers over the past months to try to nullify this weakness.***

    OPPORTUNTIES: In Moses, Mikel, Musa, Iheanacho, Iwobi, Ezenwa (yes, Ezenwa) and Echiejile, you have players who collectively have “been there and done that”. These are players who have proven expertise and experience in the CVs of how to thrust a team, in a major tournament at club, continental, world, age-grade or senior top-level football, beyond the group stages. This collective expertise should help propel the Super Eagles to – at least – the second round in Russia.

    THREATS: I choose to focus the threat analysis on internal factors only and not our opponents. So, potential threats to success in Russia include: players’ discontent caused by cash issues (My caveat: Amaju Pinnick has given cast iron guarantee to fans that will not happen this time); jealousy, in-fighting, envy among players and selfish play (like players refusing to lay a crucial pass to another player they don’t like); political interference in squad selection and indiscipline among players.

    My Verdict: Really good exciting outing expected from the Super Eagles.

    • olodo-naija is coming home after 3 matches

      • onwajunior 3 years ago

        Lol…at least we go play 3 matches.

      • Oh dear! Anon you definitely think that Nigeria will crash out at the group stages.

        But why?

        And sorry if my contribution upset you as I guessed that’s why you called me Olodo.

        No vex.

  • dozino 3 years ago

    Aina is rightly dropped 

  • So because obi and onazi played poorly yesterday they should be dropped for an even poorer player?? nigerians na wa o.
    What makes you think Mikel agu would have fared better had he played in that 1st half?
    I’ve seen him play before and was not impressed. He’s definitely not better than Joel obi and does not have the experience or tenacity of onazi. Remember onazi has won the Afcon, played in the ConfeD cup and World Cup and did well. You can’t just discard him after one or two poor performances.
    The only player I think Rohr should have considered is kelechi nwakali. He’s a real potential star in the making who would have added something different to our midfield.
    And onyekuru too. Despite his injury, I think he’s still a better option than Moses Simon and Ahmed musa.
    Hopefully both nwakali and onyekuru will feature in future call ups.

    But for now, this is a strong squad, the best we could have gotten from the initial 30 man list.
    Let’s get behind them and give our full support.
    Go super eagles….make us proud!

    • onwajunior 3 years ago

      Onazi hasn’t played any Confederations cup. But I agree, we can’t discharge him. I think he is trying to do what he can’t, he should just concentrate on what he is good at – spoiling the opponent’s play. 

  • dozino 3 years ago

    Let’s us face the reality. Fine,friendlies are actually meant to get the right formation and give fringe players opportunity to prove their worth,we must be moderate and realistic in our expectations at Russia. The match was a big disappointment to most people because we performed below expectations. The second half we all talked about,we only performed for like seven minutes. We still have the problems of not holding ball well i.e loosing possession too quickly and not being able to string passes together for most part of the match.

    • Whisky 3 years ago

      yes u are right. From the 2-3 friendlies we have played my judgement is we don’t have a team that we take us that far.. I just hope and pray we do well. Some players should give wayto much younger ones after the World Cup.. E. G onazi, echiejile, Joel. If I am the coach only few players we be guaranteed starting shirt in future. They are Moses. Iwobi,mikel ndidi etebo and ogu .while others should be made to fight for their positions.

  • The squad is good. But Rohr must start with the team that played the second half against England plus Ndidi.

  • Charles 3 years ago

    Onazi and Joel obi are good players but they need to step up their game,mistakes means somebody should correct thief self next time

  • Otite Atete 3 years ago

    They say that every Nigerian is a coach,that is how passionate we are about out football. Onazi and Joel have no business being in that team. Let us just have in mind that we are going to Russia with 21 players. Those 2 are minus as far as am concern. Rohr made a very big mistake for not have invited Kelechi Nwakali he should apologize to that young lad. His selection of Onazi and Joel is purely sentimental.

  • Frankagal 3 years ago

    @Abdul:you are a great tactician.Honestly,this is where the solution to SE challenge lies.Iweobi must play behind the strikers if we must get the best out of him.Also,Iweobi is not a 90 minutes player like you rightly said.

    Furthermore,in the absence of Ndidi,our midfield should consist of Mikel,Etebo and Ogu or try out Shehu in the defensive midfield.Once this is done,the SE will click.

  • JOSEY 3 years ago

    ONAZI inclusion is not bad but that of joel Obi is senseless. Nigeria will always take a funny player to the world cup so Joel Obi is the Uchebo of this team.

  • Victor 3 years ago

    I don’t actually know why some people are still complaining of nigeria’s performance yesterday, that was just a test game and was played in england’s national stadium do u expect them to lose in wembley? For the super eagles, though some players performed poorly but we still need to give the selected guys our full support because we are:
    #the wings of african pride
    #the super eagles and we will are about to shock the world

  • Whisky 3 years ago

    D. Door of the Super eagle camp need to be thrown wide open for future matches for the defence, midfield and attacking positions to be corrected.

  • Djeniko 3 years ago

    My fear is that will Ndidi Wilfred be fit enough to tackle the Hugh task that is ahead? Anyone who watched Croatia vs Brazil will understand that Croatia is not going to be an easy opponent. We will know on Wednesday when Ndidi Wilfred will play vs Czech. If Ndidi Wilfred was from these European countries, he will not be invited after calculating that his injury will run into the WC preparation and even into the WC proper to heal and be fit. I will suggest this to Gernot Rohr: if on Wednesday he shows any sign of an unfit player, or aggravate the injury, he should be replaced with another sent off player. Sentiment should not have a place in this.

  • Go Eagles, Go 3 years ago

    @Ayphyllidegreat, @deo are great contributors to this forum plus others. These guys use to criticise the Super Eagles and the coach. Now that the 23 man list is out, they have decided to thrown their support behind the Super Eagles. This is too good!!! This is no time to dampens one’s spirit. I admire your spirit. Others should fall behind the Super Eagles now. @Fortesam and others should heed this call for the Super Eagles’ support. You’re all welcomed.

  • These two players Pls Aina and Mikel Agu are going to camp with the team, and they are going to Russia as standby.

    The 23 Eagles are the best from the last 25 called.

    The problem started with our scouting, nigerian coaches are lazy and ignorant yet they will not understand it, or believe and upgrade themselves.

    Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia will scout for their good players fro even 3rd divisions in France , Belgium and all over Europe.

    In Nigeria we can not even give account of our last 3 or 4 sets of under 17 eagles.
    We don’t organize matches or tournaments for them.

    In Europe, they play under; 15, 16, 19 and 21 tournaments every year.
    They do same in their various leagues too.

    A simple computer program and sound computer experts can track and analyze our soccer talent exports and foreign borne weekly.
    When we say technical department, the NFF will gather retired players who knows nothing about IT, come on
    Pay for the best brains and you will get the best results.

    Good luck to the chosen ones.

    “Many are called but few are chosen” but here few were called yet fewer got chosen.
    We are going to a tournament with six midfielders but only one attacking midfielder, come on.
    Where is Nwakali, Awoniyi, Sokari etc.
    No database on our players, where is the analytical, integration and reporting services?
    We can do much better than we are doing currently.

    Best of luck SE of nigeria.

  • Even the “mighty” De Gea just cost spain the equaliser against Switzerland……Uzoho should be encouraged abeg!

  • Enya, Samuel O. 3 years ago

    Onazi was once our star man in the very last World Cup when we played against France, we should pray that he pick up that form instead of criticising him awfully. He is now the Benzema of Real Madrid.

  • Wow l trust our couch. He knows what he want He choose his best. Is not time for criticism. We need to support him and encourage him. Nigeria Kwenu kwezuonu. His in for the CUP. Just keep calm and support.