Team captain and goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, attacking midfielder Rabiu Aliu and Lobi Stars powerful striker Anthony Okpotu are among the high-profile names that made coach Salisu Yusuf’s 23-man list for the 5th African Nations Championship scheduled for Morocco from January 13 to February 4.
However, forwards Sikiru Olatunbosun (MFM) and Joseph Osadiaye (Enyimba) are the big names dropped by Salisu for the competition.
Invited midfielder Afeez Aremu was left out, having signed a professional deal in Europe, while injury ruled out Katsina United’s Destiny Ashadi and defender Olamilekan Adeleye (IfeanyiUbah) from the final squad of the 2014 bronze medallists.
Goalkeepers Oladele Ajiboye (Plateau United) and Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba) made the list alongside defenders Osas Okoro, Stephen Eze and Kalu Okogbue.
Also on the list are midfielders Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Ekundayo Ojo and forwards Sunday Faleye and Emeka Atuloma.
The team of 23 players and their officials are expected to fly out of the country in a few days to continue their preparations in Morocco ahead of Nigeria’s first match of the campaign against Rwanda in Tangier on January 15.
They are expected to play Libya in Tangier on January 19, before travelling to Agadir to tackle Equatorial Guinea on January 23 in their final group game.