Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr appears to be sticking to younger players as Nigeria fights for a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and AFCON 2019 in Cameroon.

Rohr preferred to invite new faces Ola Aina of Chelsea, MFM’s duo of Sikiru Olatunbosun and Stephen Odey, Mikel Agu from Vitoria Setubal, Portugal and Alhassan Ibrahim of Akwa United among others.

Big boys like captain John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Ogenyi Onazi were all overlooked by Rohr, at least for the camping in France, and obviously for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against South Africa on June 10 in Uyo.

Rohr named 25 players for the games but surprisingly left out Onazi, who got injured in Nigeria’s last game against Senegal in London.

He has since returned from injury and on Saturday, Onazi played all 90 minutes for Trabzonspor in a 2-3 loss to Kayserispor, whose Nigerian player Raheem Lawal scored two goals to seal the win.

Onazi also bagged a 90th minute yellow card in the encounter.

Mikel, who was hopeful of return to fitness after undergoing a surgery in China, was left out of the list, understandably, for him to fully recover.

But for Moses, it is not clear why Rohr left him out.

Moses was in camp for the friendly against Senegal in March, but left the next day after taking permission from Rohr for health reasons.

He has since returned to full fitness and even played all 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Monday night. The Premier League will end in May, meaning Moses would be free to join the team if he was included.

Nigeria will open camp in Corsica on 24th May and then play against the Corsica Senior team two days later, before moving camp to Paris, capital of France for the second phase of the camping programme ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana on June 10.


Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Dele Alampasu (Cesarense FC, Portugal)

Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Ekong (KAA Gent, Belgium); Uche Agbo (CF Granada, Spain); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Elderson Echiejile (Sporting Gijon, Spain); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal)

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United FC)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Stephen Odey (MFM FC); Olanrewaju Kayode (FC Austria Wien, Austria); Isaac Success (Watford FC, England); Noah Serenren-Bazee (Hannover 96, Germany); Victor Osimhen (Wolfsburg FC, Germany); Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC)

To join team in Paris after English FA Cup final

Ola Aina (Chelsea FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England)