By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Defender Kenneth Omeruo and forward Moses Simon were among the early arrivals at the Super Eagles’ Hotel die Zeit an der Glan in Austria on Monday morning, ahead of the international friendly matches against African champions Algeria and Africa’s number two –ranked team, Tunisia.
Forwards Samuel Kalu and Chidera Ejuke, defender Leon Balogun and goalkeeper Mathew Yakubu were also in the early birds’ corp. Hours later, England –based defenders William Ekong, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Olaoluwa Aina, as well as forward Kelechi Iheanacho landed in Austria. Right behind them were goalkeeper Dele Alampasu, defender Jamilu Collins, midfielder Frank Onyeka and forwards Cyril Dessers and Alex Iwobi. The other invited players were being expected in camp by Monday night.
Also, as he countenances imminent approval of his international switch to the Super Eagles of Nigeria, former Germany U20 captain Kevin Akpoguma has arrived at the team’s hotel in Austria to familiarise with the Nigeria set-up and bond with the other players.
Three –time African champions Nigeria file out against the in-form Fennecs at the Jacques Lemans Arena on Friday before taking on 2004 African champions Tunisia at the same venue on Tuesday next week.
Coach Gernot Rohr would have to do without three of his initial invitees, with Turkey –based midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo suffering a knock on Sunday, following earlier injury to Wilfred Ndidi and permission granted Italy –based forward Victor Osimhen to sit out the matches.
It is the first gathering of the Super Eagles this year, with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down football globally since the month of March, just before a quick-fire double AFCON qualifying series with Sierra Leone that will now hold in November.
Match organisers, Eurodata Sport has clarified that no fan will be allowed inside the stadium for any of the two matches, in conformity with extant protocols on the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has called on television stations interested in bringing the matches live to the homes of Nigerians to immediately contact the Federation on the modalities to achieve this. Interested stations can contact the NFF’s Assistant Director/Head of Marketing, Alizor Chuks on 08036018023. Both matches will kick off at 8.30pm Austria time (9.30pm Nigeria time).
THE FULL LIST
Goalkeepers: Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal)
Midfielders: Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk, Belgium); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Standby: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France)
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