by kayode OGUNDARE
Samson Siasia effectively commenced preparations for the African Cup of Nations qualifiers double-header against Egypt later this year with the release of a 42-man squad comprising 22 home based players and 20 foreign based stars.
The interim Super Eagles coach announced the squad in Abuja on Thursday during a press conference with Chelsea midfielder Mikel Obi leading the England quartet of Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses.
Other regulars are CSKA Moscow’s Ahmed Musa, Monaco’s Elderson Echiejile and Lazio’s Ogenyi Onazi. Lokomotiv Moscow’s Aaron Samuel and South Africa-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi also return after a lengthy absence.
However, there are no places for Mainz’s Leon Balogun and Oliseh favourites AS Trencin’s Rabiu Ibrahim and Sylvester Igboun based in Russia.
Chisom Chikatara, who just joined Morroco’s Wydad Casablanca, is listed as home-based.
Fanendo Adi, 25, of Major League Soccer side Portland Timbers is one of the big surprises in the list. Striker Adi scored 16 goals in 33 MLS games last season. This is his first senior call-up.
Onazi is suspended for the first leg in Nigeria due to red card he copped in the last qualifying series in which Nigeria ultimately failed to make it to the finals in Equitorial Guinea but he will be eligible for the potentially all-important second leg in Egypt.
The first of the two matches will be held in Kaduna on 25 March with the return billed for Alexandria four days later.
The full Eagles 42-man list:
John Mikel Obi
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