AFCON Qualifiers Why Mikel, Nwakali Were Dropped

Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles head coach invited 24 players for the next two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Libya on October 13, 2018 in Uyo and the reverse fixture three days later in Tunisia without his influenctial captain, Mikel Obi.

Also missing from the squad named on Monday is youngstar and 2015 U-17 World Cup–winning captain, Kelechi Nwakali.

While Mikel was left out on account of injury, Nwakali who had his first senior cap against Seychelles was omitted due to the return of Alex Iwobi and Moses simon among others.

“Mikel is given time to recover fully from injury,” says Toyin Ibitoye, the team’s image maker.

“The coach doesn’t want to load him with internationals now. Hopefully he will be back in November if injury free.”

Nwakali, he said, was omitted because of the reurn of Iwobi, Ola Aina and Williams Troost-Ekong.

“There is no spot for him for now. He made the team against Seychelles because of the absence of the above trio. The implication is that he has to work hard,” Ibitoye added.

According to Ibitoye, the strategy is to win the next two games and qualify for the Nations Cup, having failed to qualify for the last two editions of the tournament.

“Win these two games and we will lead Libya with five points. With two games left, we only need a win and are sure of the ticket. What is important now is qualifcation for the Africa Cup of Nations Cup and not topping the group,” he noted.

In the list released on Monday, Rohr invited in-form Ahmed Musa, returnee Moses Simon, former junior international, Isaac Success and Goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa, the only home –based professional.

Odion Ighalo, Bryan Idowu were also invited for the games.

Expectedly, Francis Uzoho gets the coach’s nod alongside Daniel Akpeyi, Abdullahi Shehu, Semi Ajayi, Chidozie Awaziem and Leon Balogun.

Also invited are Kenneth Omeruo, Jamilu Collins, Ogenyi Onazi, Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and John Ogu.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Henry Onyekuru and Samuel Kalu complete the list.

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