BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
As the Super Eagles get set to face Saudi Arabia for the second time ever and Mozambique for the fifth time, Head Coach, Jose Santos Peseiro has recalled some players that have been sidelined in recent matches.
Among those recalled are Kenneth Omeruo and Bright Osayi-Samuel. Also in the squad is midfielder Alex Iwobi and forward Terem Moffi.
The quartet were absent from the team that demolished Sao Tome and Principe in last month’s 2023 AFCON qualifier in Uyo.
Midfielder Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, of Hatayaspor FC of Turkey gets his first-ever invitation, while Peseiro has decided to retain the trio of Francis Uzoho, Adebayo Adeleye and Olorunleke Ojo in goal.
Yet-to-be-capped defender Jordan Torunnarigha is also called.
Wilfred Ndidi, who captained the team against Sao Tome and Principe, as well as Raphael Onyedika and forwards Moses Simon, Ademola Lookman, Victor Osimhen, Taiwo Awoniyi and Kelechi Iheanacho have also been invited.
The Super Eagles take on the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia in the city of Portimão, Portugal on Friday, 13th October 2023, starting at 5pm.
It is the second time that both teams will meet. Both teams have played a friendly match at Alpenstadion, Austria on 25 May 2010 as part of the Super Eagles’ build-up to the World Cup in South Africa. The encounter ended goalless.
After the match with Saudi Arabia, the Super Eagles will take on Mozambique apparently as a test match for what the team should expect in a World Cup qualifiers against another South African nations of Lesotho and Zimbabwe next month.
It will be the fifth time the Super Eagles have had to face Mozambique. They met twice in qualification for South Africa 2010. The match in Maputo ended goalless and the return leg was heading to the same scoreline before Obinna Nsofor scored a goal that was a lifeline for Nigeria.
But for the goal at the last of the three added time, Nigeria’s dream to the World Cup would have ended as Tunisia would had taken unassailable lead.
Nigeria first met Mozambique in Maputo in a friendly match in Maputo. Nigeria won 1-0. When they met again at the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola in 2010, it was a comprehensive 1-0 for Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles’ players are all expected to arrive in Faro, Portugal on Tuesday, 10th October.
ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Jordan Torunarigha (KAA Gent, Belgium); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England); Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayaspor FC, Turkey)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Terem Moffi (OGC Nice, France); Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany)