Nigeria recall Mikel ahead of AFCON 2019

Sinan RAJUB SENOGA

Former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been recalled on the Nigerian national team ahead of the AFCON tournament slated to kick off next month.

Mikel last played for the Super Eagles last year in the FIFA World Cup in Russia where he was also the captain of the team.

Kelechi Iheanacho is another surprise inclusion despite the former Man. City striker firing blanks at Leicester City of late.

The two are part of the 25-man provisional squad summoned by the French head coach Gernot Rohr.

Ahmed Musa, Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Kenneth Omeruo and Villarreal’s startlet Samuel Chukwueze are some of the notables in Rohr’s squad.

The 25 players will thereafter be trimmed to the required 23 after a friendly game against Zimbabwe on June 8th.

Nigeria will also play a pre-tournament friendly against Senegal in Ismailia, Egypt on June 16th.

The 2013 winners are grouped alongside West African neighbors Guinea and two debutants, Burundi and Madagascar.

Nigeria’s 25-man provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Middlesbrough, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain)

Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)

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