Home-based Super Eagles coach Salisu Yusuf selected Nigeria Professional Football League top scorer MFM’S Stephen Odey, FC IfeanyiUbah goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, defenders Orji Kalu and Osas Okoro, midfielders Alhassan Ibrahim and Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, and Ifeanyi George among the 19 players for Sunday’s 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Benin Republic in Cotonou, the Nigeria Football Federation announced in a press release made available to Completesportsnigeria.com on Thursday.
Also included in the squad are 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning Golden Eaglets goalkeeper Dele Ajiboyemail who now plays for NPFL leaders Plateau United, Enyimba defender Chima Akas, Kano Pillars midfielder Rabiu Ali and forward Thomas Zenke.
Enyimba oalkeeper Theophilus Afelokhai and MFM forward Sikiru Olatubosun are also in the squad.
The squad will fly from Kano to Lagos on Friday, from where they will travel to Cotonou by road same day.
Cotonou is a short trip from Lagos as Benin Republic’s border in Seme is on the outskirts of Nigeria’s commercial capital.
The Confederation of African Football has appointed Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal for the match at the Stade de l’Amitie on Sunday, starting from 4pm.
He will be assisted by compatriots Mokrane Gourari (Assistant Referee 1), Mohammed Serradj (Assistant Referee 2) and Said Aquina (Reserve Referee).
The return leg will be held at the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano on Saturday, 19 August, with the winners qualifying for the 5th African Nations Championship scheduled for Kenya early next year.
20 EAGLES FOR COTONOU
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Defenders: Orji Kalu (Rangers International); Stephen Eze (FC IfeanyiUbah); Ariwachukwu Emmanuel (Akwa United); Chima Akas (Enyimba FC); Nasiru Sani (Katsina United); Osas Okoro (Rangers International)
Midfielders: Hafiz Aremu (Akwa United); Raphael Ayagwa (Lobi Stars); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Samuel Mathias (El-Kanemi Warriors); Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United)
Forwards: Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC); Thomas Zenke (Nasarawa United); Stephen Odey (MFM FC); Kingsley Eduwo (Lobi Stars); Ifeanyi George (Rangers International)