Super Eagles head coach, Sunday Oliseh has invited 24 players for the 2018 World Cup second round fixture against Swaziland, with the surprise inclusion of Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho and Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins.
Obafemi Martins returns to the Super Eagles after a two-year absence, while 19 year old Iheanacho will be making his debut for the Super Eagles after featuring for the Nigerian national U-20 team.
Martins, 31, who was invited to the team following the retirement of Al Ain forward, Emmanuel Emenike has sparked a lot of debate, with some sections of the public saying the 31 year old wouldn’t fit into a team being built for the 2018 World Cup.
Speaking to the PUNCH, head coach, Sunday Oliseh insisted that Martins deserves his call-up for the World Cup qualifiers.
“It’s up to him to show us what he can do,” Oliseh said.
Martins, who has been on top form for his US based club, expressing his excitement said he was a bit shocked, but admitted he deserves his recall to the team.
He said: “It was a bit of a shock, but a nice shock. I’m very happy, because I have always worked hard, supported and respected all the players picked by the coaches,”
“I thank coach Oliseh for this great opportunity. I’m just looking forward to going out there and playing for Nigeria again.”
Oliseh invited six home-based and 17 overseas-based players for the tie against the Sihlangu of Swaziland.
The players will resume camping for the qualifiers on November 8.
The first leg will hold in Lobamba on Friday, Nov. 13, while the return leg will be at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars), Dele Alampasu (Club de Sportivo Feirense, Portugal)
Defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal), Kalu Orji (Enyimba), Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France), Chima Akas (Sharks), Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz, Germany), Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey), Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland), Austin Oboroakpo (Abia Warriors)
Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy), Paul Onobi (Sunshine Stars), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Rabiu Ibrahim (AS Trencin, Slovakia), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Sylvester Igbonu (FC UFA, Russia)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Ezekiel Bassey (Enyimba), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders, USA)