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Nigeria’s 23-man list for Russia 2018

Here is the final list of Nigeria’s Super Eagles players for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia released by the Head Coach Gernot Rohr on Sunday in London.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba, Nigeria), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: William Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey), Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, Holland), Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia), Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France), Leon Balogun (Brighton, England), Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, Turkey)

Midfielders: Mikel Obi (Tianjin Teda, China), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Joel Obi (Torino, Italy)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Victor Moses (Chelsea, England), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone, Italy).

The squad, since being pruned to 30 last month and subsequently to 26 last week, has been the usually expected names with only a few surprises.

Mikel Agu, Moses Simon and Ola Aina who were dropped in London, with the exclusion of Simon, might not have been a surprise since they have dropped to being fringe players.

The exclusion of Simon on his part, in view of past performances, should have been a surprise, if not for his injury worries.

But the inclusion of Simeon Nwankwo who made his debut just last week is a surprise one, given that he has got the nod to be in Russia ahead of many older members of the national set-up.

However, from the trio of goalkeepers to the pack eight defenders led by the duo of William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun, the squad is largely much expected.

Aside from new-boy Bryan Idowu and Chidozie Awaziem, all others have always been part of the national team.

And, from the six midfielders which included team captain Mikel Obi to the forwards led by team veteran Ahmed Musa and Victor Moses, no major shock has been witnessed.

It is now left for the technical crew to use Tuesday’s friendly with the Czech Republic in Austria, and the days before June 16, to fine-tune the team.

The Super Eagles who have not made it beyond the last 16 in five appearances at the World Cup will open their Russia 2018 campaign against Croatia on June 16.

The tournament starts on 14 June, with Nigeria drawn with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D.

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