The Nigeria Football Federation has moved to clarify that Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr’s 25-man squad for the friendly against Corsica as well as for the camping in France ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in Uyo on June 10 is not his final list.
The Eagles are scheduled to play Corsica in Ajaccio on May 26 and travel to Paris the following day to start their preparations for the Bafana Bafana clash.
Rohr’s list, which was released by the NFF on Monday, has been the subject of scrutiny from the media, pundits and fans following the omission of senior players such as in-form Chelsea right wing-back Victor Moses, Ogenyi Onazi, Kenneth Omeruo as well as China-based trio Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye.
The former Burkina Faso manager, who has won all Nigeria’s competitive games since he took the reins at the Eagles last year, named Chelsea right-back Ola Aina on the list, confirming that the 20-year-old had decided to ditch England to play for Nigeria. Aina, who has failed to break into Chelsea’s first team since he made his Premier League debut in the 3-0 defeat of Leicester on October 15, 2016, has been capped by England at each level from U16s to U20s.
MFM’s shining lights this season Stephen Odey and Sikiru Olatunbosun are also on the list.
Spokesman for the NFF Ademola Olajire told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday that Rohr still has Moses, Mikel, Onazi and other senior players omitted from the list in his plans for the Bafana encounter.
“It’s not every player on the list that will be selected for the game against South Africa. The coach will drop some of the players and invite others after assessing them (invited players) against Corsica – and during the camping in Paris,” Olajire said.
“Moses, Mikel, Onazi and other players left out will be invited for the match against South Africa.”
Meanwhile, Rohr says he will name the squad for the Uyo clash later in the month.
“The camp in France is to see some of the young players we have in the squad, and to also gauge the level of fitness of some of the players who have not been playing a lot for their teams,” owngoalnigeria.com quoted the 63-year-old German as saying on Monday.
“After the friendly against Corsica, we will release another list, which will be for the game against South Africa, with some players returning while those who impressed during the camping in France will be included.”