Brazil Friendly: Rohr Calls Up Azeez, Olayinka
By Samuel Victor Akpan
Coach Gernot Rohr has rewarded the in-form duo of Granada’s Ramon Azeez and SK Slavia Prague’s Peter Olayinka with a place in the Super Eagles.
Azeez scored against Barcelona in Granada’s 2-0 win at the weekend and Olayinka was imperious at the San Siro last midweek when his team beat Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League. Both have now been included in Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the prestigious friendly with five-time world champions Brazil in Singapore in October.
The German tactician also has the defensive trio of Kenneth Omeruo, Abdullahi Shehu and Chidozie Awaziem back from injury.
Omonia of Cyprus goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, Heartland’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and German-based Maduka Okoye all keep their place in the squad but England-based Leon Balogun and Bryan Idowu- who plays in Russia- are left out of the squad.
Ramon Azeez- former U-20 team captain- is called up with Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho left out. Joshua Maja, who plies his trade in France for Girondins Bordeaux misses out.
Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester City also returns after missing out the Ukraine encounter with injury while Alex Iwobi, Ogenekharo Etebo, and Scotland-based Joseph Ayodele-Aribo- who scored on his debut against Ukraine- are all back in midfield.
Lille of France goal-machine Victor Osimhen, Villareal’s youngster Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Paul Onuachu and Emmanuel Dennis are to lead the frontline. Captain Ahmed Musa is out with injury.
All invited players are expected to arrive in Singapore on Wednesday, October 9.
Nigeria and Brazil will renew rivalries on October 13, in a much-anticipated encounter at the Singapore National Stadium, Kallang, Singapore.
The encounter comes 23 years after Nigeria defeated the Selacao in the semi-finals of the 1996 Olympic Games, setting her on her way to winning Africa’s first Olympic football gold at the Athens Stadium Georgia, USA.
The Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland FC), Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy), Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey), Chidozie Awaziem (CD Leganes, Spain), William Troost-Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain), Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England)
Midfielders: Alexander Iwobi (Everton FC, England), Anderson Esiti (POAK Salonica, Greece), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Ramon Azeez (Granada FC, Spain)
Forwards: Victor Osimhen (Lille OSC, France), Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France), Samuel Chukwueze (Villareal FC, Spain), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France), Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium), Peter Olayinka (SK Slavia Prague, Czech Republic)