Experienced Rangers International of Enugu striker, Christian Osaguona Ighodalo, was the surprise exclusion from the Super Eagles team to the two international friendly against Cote d’Ivoire on January 12 and Sudan January 17.
Others who did not make the cut are Ammel Angel Wilfred of Kogi Unted, another Rangers star, Chinedu Udeaga and Mighty Jets central defender, Ahmed Idris, who was a late replacement for injured Kano Pillars ‘big man’ in defence, Zango Umar.
Assistant Coach, Dan ‘the Bull’ Amokachi, explained that Ighodalo, was simply off form and the other players who were battling for positions with him were simply better. “Recall that I did say to the world and especially to the players that only 19 of them will make the team and current form and not names will form the basis of selection, that was exactly what happened in the case of Osaguona,” he declared.
The national team made up of wholly professional players from the Nigerian league are expected to depart the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on Thursday night for the United Arab Emirates via an Emirates Airline. Team Administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor, said all necessary details for the trip have been worked out for the six-hour trip to UAE.
Meanwhile former Golden Eagles and Flying Eagles Head Coach, John Sam Obuh, has declared his absolute confidence in the abilities of the wards that have been tinkered by Amokachi in the last one week to excel in the international friendlies against CIV and Sudan. He said this at the Abuja National Stadium during one of the team’s last training sessions before heading for the UAE.
Hear him: “Nigeria remains one of the bastions of African football but we must avoid infighting to get to the zenith and stop thinking that destroying one character will revive the system, it will rather damage the country’s football system. I believe in this team and I know the team will excel in the UAE.”
The 19 Eagles for UAE: Goalkeepers: Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United); Daniel Akpeyi (Warri Wolves); Theophilus Afelokhai (Kano Pillars)
Defenders: Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars); Idris Aloma (El-Kanemi FC); Chimma Akas (Sharks FC); Nelson Ogbonna (Heartland FC); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Bright Esieme (Enyimba FC
Midfielders: Joseph Nathaniel (Sharks FC); Charles Henlong (Giwa FC); Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Kingsley Sokari (Enyimba FC); Pteter Ebimabowe
Forwards: Mfon Udoh (Enyimba FC); Gbolahan Salami (Warri Wolves); Gambo Muhammad (Kano Pillars); Christian Obiozor (Enugu Rangers).