8 March 2018

Nigeria: Russia 2018 | What Rohr's 28-Man List Reveals

Photo: The Guardian
Nigeria national football team players.

With two back-to-back friendly matches against Serbia and Poland slated for later in the month, Gernot Rohr released a 28-man list for the matches on Wednesday. Rumours were quashed with some omissions while hopes were raised on some additions.

But one thing is clear from the list, Rohr has shown his hand on what his final 23-man squad would look like barring any last minute injuries.

Uzoho is looking more like Rohr's No.1

With Vincent Enyeama nowhere in sight and the efforts being made by the technical crew to work with the available goalkeepers, it increasingly looks likely that 19-year-old Francis Uzoho will man the posts for the Super Eagles in Russia come June.

Uzoho, the second goalkeeper after Dele Alampasu at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup, has played the majority of the season with Deportivo La Coruna in the second division in Spain though he played two matches for the senior side - against Eibar last October and against Girona on October 23.

In his only cap against Argentina last November in Krasnodar, he looked assured and capable. Rohr told a Radio Station on March 1 that he has not decided on who would be the Eagles No. 1 as goalkeeper trainer, Pionetti Enrico, who went to Spain to work with Uzoho would also travel to South Africa and Portugal to do the same with Akpeyi and Alampasu.

But if I were a betting man, I would say at this point [with 90% probability] that Uzoho is No.1 in Rohr's mind. "Uzoho is working hard, but he is only third choice keeper at La Coruna, and very young. Let's work on all our goalkeepers.

"We will give the same attention to Alampasu, Agu will work on the local lads as well. We will work equally with all the goalkeepers we have available, even with Akpeyi in South Africa," Rohr said on Mega Radio.


Francis UzohoAbdullahi ShehuMikel John ObiAhmed Musa

Ikechukwu EzenwaTyronne EbuehiOgenyi OnaziKelechi Iheanacho

Daniel AkpeyiOlaoluwa AinaWilfred NdidiMoses Simon

Elderson EchiejileOghenekaro EteboVictor Moses

Brian IdowuJohn OguOdion Ighalo

Chidozie AwaziemUche AgboAlex Iwobi

William Troost-EkongJoel ObiJunior Ajayi

Leon BalogunGabriel Okechukwu

Kenneth Omeruo

Stephen Eze

* The highlighted players are the ones most likely to be dropped

Ideye may miss out despite Malaga move

Brown Ideye moved to Malaga in January to fulfill his World Cup move but that wish will be jeopardised if Al Ahly's Junior Ajayi does well in the two friendly matches against Poland and Serbia. Ideye has been fraught with bad luck as it concerns the World Cup since 2010 when Lars Lagerback dropped him on the way to South Africa.

His form tailed off after the 2013 AFCON triumph and Stephen Keshi dropped him. It currently looks like the three months inactivity before his Malaga move will now curtail his going to Russia. Also, the likes of Obafemi Martins, Success Isaac, and Anthony Nwakaeme can effectively plan for pundits' jobs during the Mundial.


Francis Uzoho19Deportivo La Coruna [Spain]1

Ikechukwu Ezenwa29Enyimba FC [Nigeria]24

Daniel Akpeyi31Chippa United [South Africa]7

Abdullahi Shehu24Bursaspor [Turkey]21

Tyronne Ebuehi22ADO Den Haag [Netherlands]2

Olaoluwa Aina21Hull City [England]3

Elderson Echiejile30Cercle Brugge [Belgium]60

Brian Idowu25Amkar Perm [Russia]1

Chidozie Awaziem21Nantes [France]3

William Troost-Ekong24Bursaspor [Turkey]17

Leon Balogun28Mainz FC [Germany]15

Kenneth Omeruo24Kasimpasa [Turkey]36

Stephen Eze24Lokomotiv Plovdiv [Bulgaria]13

Mikel John Obi30Tianjin Teda [China]82

Ogenyi Onazi25Trabzonspor [Turkey]48

Wilfred Ndidi21Leicester City [England]14

Oghenekaro Etebo22Las Palmas [Spain]12

John Ogu29Hapoel Be'er Sheva [Israel]16

Uche Agbo22Standard Liege [Belgium]1

Joel Obi26Torino [Italy]15

Ahmed Musa25CSKA Moscow [Russia]67

Kelechi Iheanacho21Leicester City [England]14

Moses Simon22KAA Gent [Belgium]19

Victor Moses27Chelsea [England]30

Odion Ighalo28Changchun Yatai [China]14

Alex Iwobi21Arsenal [England]14

Junior Ajayi22Al Ahly [Egypt]0

Gabriel Okechukwu22Akwa United [Nigeria]5

CHAN Recognition

Apart from Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who did his World Cup chances no harm in Morocco, the duo of Stephen Eze and Gabriel Okechukwu enhanced their reputations. Eze has since joined Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria.

The gangly former Kano Pillars' defender and made the team of the week last weekend. For Okechukwu, who was not a starter for the Eagles in Morocco, but rose from the bench to score two goals, it is a chance to gauge his own progress.

Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Genort Rohr.

The average age of the invited players is approximately 24.5, which means Nigeria will parade almost the youngest squad in Russia with England providing the highest number of invitees - five.

The 28-man list also shows that there are many greenhorns in the team with nine boasting less than 10 caps while the team has just three players with more than 50 caps.

In totality, the list is a good one, a progressive development from which a competitive Super Eagles squad should emerge. We are counting down to Russia!

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