By Nurudeen Obalola and Johnny Edward in Uyo:
The Super Eagles of Nigeria began training on Tuesday at the practice pitch of the Godswill Akpabio Stadium here in Uyo ahead of the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier against Zambia, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Twenty players took part in the session, with five invited players missing.
Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Chidozie Awaziem, Ola Aina and Victor Moses all missed the session which had about 200 Uyo fans in attendance.
The training began at about 5pm with the team drawn into two groups having a light workout and doing some ball work.
The first group had skipper Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo, Anthony Nwakaeme, Leon Balogun, William Troost Ekong, John Ogu, Oghenekaro Etebo and Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
The second group was made up of Elderson Echiejile, Daniel Akpeyi, Wilfred Ndidi, Uche Agbo, Mikel Agu, Dele Ajiboye, Ahmed Musa Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Aremu Afis and Kelechi Iheanacho.
After the ball work, coach Gernot Rohr made players run with the ball aerially in a contest that the competitive players obviously had fun with, each group running at full pelt and cheering wildly whenever they won.
Mikel’s group lost twice and they were punished by Rohr with press-up drills.
While the outfield players were doing their thing, the three goalkeepers had their own session seperately under the watchful eyes of goalkeeper trainers Alloy Agu and the Italian Enrico Pionetti but joined the rest of the squad after 35 minutes.
The players then had two five-a-side matches with Dele Ajiboye keeping two matches, while Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi took turns.
The standout players in the five-a-day matches and a subsequent nine-a-side contest were goalkeepers Ajiboye and Akpeyi.
The Plateau United goalkeeper and the much-aligned Akpeyi made spectacular saves as shot after shot were fired at them. Akpeyi made two point-plank saves off Uche Agbo and Odion Ighalo, while Akpeyi saved an Ahmed Musa penalty.
The training session started at around 5pm and ended at 6.20pm under the floodlights, with Rohr and his assistants fully involved.
Agbo, Iheanacho, Ogu,Mikel Ighalo, Etebo with Akpeyi in goal. Ighalo missed three sitters during the first training session.
Super Eagles at Tuesday’s training:
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William Troost Ekong