Nigeria and Watford striker Odion Ighalo has been excused from next month’s World Cup qualifying match against Zambia. Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr left out Ighalo, who will attend his father’s burial in Nigeria on Saturday, 8th October – a day before the match at the Levy Nwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
Rohr released a list of 23 players invited for the match in the run up to Russia 2018. The Franco-German has kept faith in the squad that defeated Tanzania 1-0 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Uyo in September, but has recalled Arsenal striker Alex Iwobi who was not a part of that match. Rohr also called up Alanyaspor of Turkey defender Kenneth Omeruo and Belgium-based midfielder Anderson Esiti. Isaac Success who made a showing for Watford against Manchester United will be in Ndola for the big match. It is his first call up at the senior level.
Expectedly, team captain Mikel Obi; assistant skipper Ahmed Musa and goalkeeper Carl Ikeme are listed for the game. Defender Elderson Echiejile, midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and in-form Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho are in the 23-man roster.
Injured KAA Gent of Belgium striker Moses Simon got his name on the roster after assuring Rohr that he had started treatment and would be fully healed well ahead of the encounter.
All invited players are expected to start arriving in Abuja as from Sunday, 2nd October.
On Tuesday Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene warned rivals that Chipolopolo should not be underrated as the teams in Group B get ready for the qualifiers.
The Zambians are in the group with Nigeria, Algeria and Cameroon.
The Mamelodi Sundowns keeper said, “We are in a tricky group but Zambia performs well when a lot of people have written them off. Even the teams we will be playing against like Nigeria and Algeria know that it won’t be easy to beat Zambia.”
Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (W’hampton Wanderers, England); Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (IfeanyiUbah)
Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); William Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway); Kenneth Omeruo (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Jamiu Alimi (Kano Pillars); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey); Elderson Echiejile (Standard Liege, Belgium), Kingsley Madu (SV Zulte Waregem, Belgium)
Midfielders: Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Nosa Igiebor (Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel); Anderson Esiti (KAA Gent, Belgium)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (Chelsea, England); Isaac Success (Watford, England); Brown Ideye (Olympiacos, Greece); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England).