Seven Super Eagles players, including stand-in captain Vincent Enyeama and Uche Nwofor, on Monday arrived at the Bolton White Apartment Abuja camp of the national team ahead of the first leg 2014 World Cup qualifying playoff against the Walya Antelopes of Ethiopia on Sunday in Addis Ababa.
The team will begin training on Tuesday evening at the National Stadium, Abuja.
Coach Stephen Keshi invited 23 players comprising 18 foreign-based and five home-based for the clash.
According to the spokesman for the team Ben Alaiya, Lille goalkeeper Enyeama and SC Heerenveen’s 22-year-old striker Nwofor joined five home-based players who arrived at the camp earlier.
The domestic league players are Solomon Kwambe of Sunshine Stars, Francis Benjamin of Heartland, Warri Wolves captain Azubuike Egwuekwe, Sunday Mba and Enugu Rangers goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim.
Alaiya said Keshi was happy that the players arrived at the camp in good shape.
“We need the concentration and support of all to reach our goal and I know that everyone here is a professional and will give that to the team and the Nigerian people,” he quoted Keshi as saying in a statement.
Meanwhile, Eagles co-ordinator, Emmanuel Attah, said other invited players were on their way to camp.
“We are still expecting them in Abuja after a busy weekend schedule in their various league competitions. We know they are all on their way,” Attah told the News Agency of Nigeria.
“The players are just arriving. But training is likely to begin in the evening tomorrow (Tuesday), when a handful of the players must have arrived.”
Real Betis midfielder, Nosa Igiebor, who was cautioned in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Getafe in the Spanish La Liga, told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday that he would hit camp on Tuesday.
“By God’s grace, I will join my teammates on Tuesday. I can’t wait to start training for the game against Ethiopia,” the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner said.
The match is scheduled to take place at the 35,000-capacity Addis Ababa Stadium, with the second leg game scheduled for Calabar on November 16. The winners over both legs qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Eagles are aiming to qualify for their fifth World Cup, having played at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 editions, after making their debut in 1994 in the United States of America.
The team’s best performance at the Mundial was in 1994 and 1998, when they reached the second round of the competition in the US and France respectively.