Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr on Monday named 30 players in his provisional squad for the Russia 2018 World Cup with three of them from the Nigerian top flight: Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye and Junior Lokosa.
Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU here presents an alternative Super Eagles squad of 23 players for the World Cup solely from the Nigeria Professional Football League…
OLUFEMI KAYODE (LOBI STARS)
The experienced shot stopper has been one of the key men for Lobi Stars who are chasing a first Nigeria Professional Football League title and currently sit at the top of the log.
He has kept nine clean slates in the NPFL this season.
OLUFEMI THOMAS (ENUGU RANGERS)
Thomas has warded off the challenge of two top class Ghanaian goalkeepers, Seidu Mutawakilu and Nana Bonsu, to emerge as Enugu Rangers’ first choice goalkeeper this season.
He joined the Flying Antelopes this season after failing to win a regular spot at Rivers United last term.
OKIEMUTE ODAH (PLATEAU UNITED)
The former youth international joined Plateau United from Lobi Stars at the start of the season. He has made a big impression at the Jos club despite the presence of Dele Ajiboye.
GABRIEL WASSA (AKWA UNITED)
The left-back is back to his best after a difficult spell with Rivers United last season. The former Niger Tornadoes player has been one of the key performers for the Promise Keepers this season.
IFEANYI NWEKE (KANO PILLARS)
Another player who struggled with Rivers United last season but is now back to life. He was dropped from the team that took part at the African Nations Championship early in the year in Morocco.
ISIAKA OLADUNTOYE (ENYIMBA)
The centre-back is not of the biggest names in the NPFL but has been a consistent performer for Enyimba this season.
EMMANUEL ANYANWU (KANO PILLARS)
He has assumed a key role for Kano Pillars following the demise of Chinese Udoji. He has also represented Nigeria at U-23 level.
KALU ORJI (KANO PILLARS)
The centre-back recently linked up with Kano Pillars after severing ties with Enugu Rangers. He proved his worth at the African Nations Championship in Morocco. He can also play at right-back.
AUSTINE OPARA (MFM FC)
Cool, calm and collected, the MFM captain’s talents have not been widely recognised by football fans across the country but regular visitors to Agege Stadium on match days will appreciate his awesome ability.
MATTHEW ETIM (AKWA UNITED)
The right-back looks rejuvenated at Akwa United after struggling with Enugu Rangers. He was part of Nigeria’s CHAN team in Rwanda 2014.
IKOUWEN UDOH (ENYIMBA)
The young left-back who is also the captain of the U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, is rated as one of the best defenders in the NPFL at the moment.
DESTINY ASHADI (KATSINA UNITED)
Injury stopped the Katsina United star from featuring for Nigeria at the African Nation Championship in Morocco this year. He is one of the best midfielders in the NPFL. Ashadi has registered five assists for the Changi Boys this season.
KABIRU BALOGUN (NASARWA UNITED)
The diminutive midfielder who was with Kano Pillars last season has registered the highest number of assists (six) in the NPFL this season.
AUSTINE OLADAPO (ENYIMBA)
He was part of Nigeria’s team to the African Nations Championship in Morocco. He has impressed in the star studded Enyimba team this season.
EKUNDAYO OJO (SUNSHINE STARS)
A reliable and consistent performer, Ojo, nicknamed Solution, remain one of the best midfielders in the NPFL and it is difficult to name a locally based team without his inclusion.
EMEKA OGBUGH (RIVERS UNITED)
Had a below par showing at the African Nation Championship but seems back to his best at moment with a couple of fine display for Akwa United.
STANLEY DIMGBA (ENYIMBA)
The former U-23 Eagles star has churned out a series of impressive displays for Enyimba this season. He is currently the Peoples Elephant’s top scorer with five goals this season.
OCHE SALEFU (RIVERS UNITED)
The talented midfielder shone for Remo Stars who were relegated to the Nigeria National League last term. He has continued from where he left off by proving his class for Rivers United this season.
SAMAD KADIRI (LOBI STARS)
He has shouldered goal scoring responsibilities for Lobi Stars with last season’s top scorer, Anthony Okpotu, struggling for form this term.
SIKIRU ALIMI (SUNSHINE STARS)
The only bright spot in what has been an underwhelming campaign for Sunshine Stars this season. He has scored a couple of fantastic goals for the Owena Waves and will no doubt do well on the international scene.
NDIFREKE EFFIONG (ABIA WARRIORS)
Ndifreke Effiong has hit the back of the net eight times for Abia Warriors this season. He is one of the in-form strikers in the domestic scene at the moment.
STEPHEN ALFRED (KWARA UNITED)
The little known forward has blossomed for Kwara United on their return to the top flight and has contributed eight goals this term.
TOSIN OMOYELE (PLATEAU UNITED)
Came into limelight after impressing with Osun United in the Nigeria National League last season. He earned a move to NPFL champions, Plateau United, at the start of the season and has earned a regular berth in the team despite the presence of more experienced strikers in the squad.
He was also dropped from the home-based Super Eagles team that came second at the African Nation Championship in Morocco.