Super Eagles returnee Mikel Obi, Obafemi Martins and Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi are some of the key figures listed by Stephen Keshi for the international friendly match scheduled against Venezuela on November 14.
While the Chelsea midfielder has won several caps for Nigeria, Ameobi has been handed his first call-up by Nigeria for the friendly holding in Miami.
Ameobi featured for England at various age-grade levels before he was cleared last year at the same time with Victor Moses to play for Nigeria after so many years of failed attempts.
Martins is returning to the team after a long break. The striker’s last outing for Nigeria was under the former coach of the Eagles Samson Siasia. The long laid off attacker seems to have caught the attention of the Eagles manager after he joined Levante in Spain and where he has scored a couple of goals.
Eagles coach Stephen Keshi has also called up eight other foreign-based pros for the clash in the USA.
Victor Moses who is now a regular made the list; Ukraine-based Brown Ideye and Israel-based goalkeeper Austin Ejide. There are also Portugal-based defender Elderson Echiejile and Onyekachi Apam who just returned back from injury at Rennes of France. The other pros are Raheem Lawal, Ogenyi Onazi and Nosa Igiebor. Onazi got his first call with the match against Liberia in Calabar.
Team captain Joseph Yobo has been left out to enable him recover fully from his knee injury.
“It’s not proper to rush him back into the team after the injury,” Keshi said. Osaze Odemwingie who has reunited with Keshi is expected to join the team when the next stage of camping for the 2013 Africa Nations Cup begins.
Keshi will also name 15 players from the Nigeria Premier League who have been in camp in Abuja for this match. As Wednesday it was not certain which of the players would make the team as the coaches not had to think of their form on the field but also worry about those who could obtain the needed visa to the USA. As Wednesday, the players were yet to be interviewed for visa with departure date fixed for Sunday.
Invited foreign pros:
Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)
Elderson Echiejile (FC Braga, Portugal); Onyekachi Apam (Rennes, France)
Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Raheem Lawal (Adana Demirspor, Turkey)
Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine); Victor Moses (Chelsea, England); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Obafemi Martins (Levante FC, Spain).