Coach Samson Siasia has invited Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and eight other Europe-based players to the U-23 team ahead of the crucial first leg All-Africa Games qualifier against Gabon on Libreville.
Siasia said the players were selected from the set that came for screening last December. He said the likes of Imoh Ezekiel of Standard de Liege of Belgium and Japheth Okirie of Hadley FC in England were selected based on their club performance.
He said five players from the home-based squad were dropped from the team because they could not meet the standard he set for the team.
“We are expected to go to Gabon with 18 players, so only the best will make this team. There will be no automatic role for anybody as both the home-based and their Europe-based counterparts will have to battle for the 18 slots,” Siasia said.
“We have released all the home-based players whose clubs are involved in continental games this weekend, but they should all be back in camp by Monday when all the Europe-based players will have reported for camping.”
The invited Europe-based players are, Gero Abdullahi, Iwobi Alexander, Atanda Sodiq, Oshobe Oladele, Salisu Popoola, Ezekiel Imoh, Paul Onwachi, Aminu Umar and Japheth Okirie.
The players sent home are goalkeeper Isah Mas’ud, Effiong Etim, Godwin Odibo, Adetunji Sunday, and Yahaya Adamu.