By Sedara Philip
Head Coach José Santos Peseiro has invited team captain Ahmed Musa, in-form forwards Victor Osimhen and Ademola Lookman as well as 20 other players to the Super Eagles’ camp, ahead of this month’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against the Djurtus of Guinea Bissau.
Nigeria and Guinea Bissau clash at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja from 5pm on Friday, 24th March, and then make it a second date at the Estadio 24 de Setembro in Bissau on Monday, 27th March, also starting from 5pm.
Spain-based defender Kenneth Omeruo returns, as midfield enforcers Wilfred Ndidi and Frank Onyeka, and Portugal-based defender Bruno Onyemaechi gets an opportunity to vie for shirts against Semi Ajayi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kevin Akpoguma and Calvin Bassey.
Portugal-based left back Zaidu Sanusi is also back, and usual suspects Alex Iwobi, Joe Aribo, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Terem Moffi and Paul Onuachu are also called.
Captain of the Nigeria U20 side that finished in third place at the recently-concluded Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Egypt, Daniel Bameyi is called alongside team goalkeeper Chijioke Aniagboso.
In-form goalkeeper Victor Sochima, one of the reasons Rivers United FC have inched close to a CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final ticket, will contend for the number one shirt with Francis Uzoho. Players are expected to start arriving at the team camp in Abuja on Sunday, 19th March.
Table-toppers Nigeria are on maximum six points from their defeats of Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe, with the Djurtus in second place on four points from their defeat of Sao Tome and Principe and draw with the Leone Stars.
Italy-based Osimhen, with 23 goals in 28 matches this season (including four goals that has helped his club reach the last eight of the UEFA Champions League for the first time ever), netted four when the Eagles slammed Sao Tome and Principe 10-0 in a record international scoreline in Agadir, Morocco nine months ago.
Egyptian referee Mahmoud Elbana will be in the centre, with his compatriots Youssef Elbosaty, Sami Halhal and Ahmed El-Ghandour to function as assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Prosper Harrison Addo from Ghana will be the match commissioner and his compatriot Kotey Alexander will be the referee assessor.
CAF has also appointed Moroccan referees for the return leg in Bissau.
Samir Guezzaz, son of the retired Mohamed Guezzaz, will superintend, with compatriots Zakaria Brinsi, Hamza Naciri and Noureddine El Jaafari in the roles of assistant referee 1, assistant referee 2 and fourth official respectively.
Massa Diarra from Mauritania will be the match commissioner and Waldabet Koissoual from Chad will function as the referee assessor.
ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS: Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Victor Sochima (Rivers United); Kingsley Aniagboso (Giant Brillars)
Defenders: Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce SK, Turkey); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Calvin Bassey (FC Ajax, The Netherlands); Daniel Bameyi (YumYum FC); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Joe Aribo (Southampton, England)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor K, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal CF, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta BC, Italy); Terem Moffi (OGC Nice, France); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Paul Onuachu (Southampton FC, England