2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers: Augustine Eguavoen names 25-man squad for Ghana clash

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Ademola Lookman is in line to make his Nigeria debut later this month after being named in the Super Eagles’ 25-man squad for their 2022 World Cup play-off against Ghana.

The 24-year-old winger, who is on loan at Leicester City from German club RB Leipzig, represented England at youth level but was cleared to play for Nigeria last month.

Lookman was part of the England Under-20 squad which won the U20 World Cup in 2017.

Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis, who was withdrawn from the squad for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations, has also been included by Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen.

The Hornets reportedly refused to release Dennis for the tournament in Cameroon and a Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) statement said the 24-year-old had been excused because Watford were “baring fangs”.

Elsewhere, strikers Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo also return after missing the Nations Cup.

Napoli’s Osimhen tested positive for Covid-19 while recovering from facial fractures, while former Manchester United man Ighalo was blocked from joining the squad by his then-club side Al Shabab. He has since moved to fellow Saudi Arabian outfit Al Hilal.

Everton midfielder Alex Iwobi will serve a ban following his red card in Nigeria’s Nations Cup last-16 defeat by Tunisia and has been omitted from the squad.

Ghana will host the first leg of the World Cup play-off in Cape Coast on Friday, 25 March, with the return in Abuja on Tuesday, 29 March.

The Black Stars appointed former Newcastle and Brighton boss Chris Hughton as technical advisor last month, while Otto Addo is head coach of the side.

Ghana sacked coach Milovan Rajevac following their group-stage exit from the Nations Cup in Cameroon.

Ighalo hopes he can help Nigeria secure a fourth consecutive appearances at the World Cup finals, having been part of the team that played in Russia in 2018.

“It’s always a great opportunity to represent Nigeria and the ambition now is to help our country get the ticket against a very tough Ghana team,” Ighalo told BBC Sport Africa.

“It was a big disappointment not to play at Afcon but that is in the past because this is another chance for me.

“We have two big games against a very strong and equally ambitious side, but we must focus on ourselves. Playing at the last World Cup was a dream come true for many of us and we have two games to prove that we deserve to compete on that stage again.

“I am happy to be part of the squad again and I believe we have a squad and coaching crew good enough to achieve our goal.”

Nigeria squad to face Ghana

Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Francis Uzoho (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus).

Defenders: Ola Aina (Torino, Italy), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes, Spain), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal), William Troost Ekong (Watford, England), Sheyi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England), Leon Balogun (Rangers, Scotland), Calvin Bassey (Rangers, Scotland), Shehu Abdullahi (Omonia Nicosia, Cyprus).

Midfielders: Joe Aribo (Rangers, Scotland), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Frank Onyeka (Brentford, England), Peter Etebo (Watford, England), Akinkunmi Amoo ( FC Copenhagen, Denmark).

Forwards: Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Moses Simon (Nantes, France), Sadiq Umar (Almeria, Spain), Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey), Victor Osimhen (Napoli, Italy), Odion Ighalo (Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia) Emmanuel Dennis (Watford, England), Ademola Lookman (Leicester City, England).

Stand-by list: Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic), Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Jamilu Collins (Paderborn, Germany), Taiwo Awoniyi (Union Berlin, Germany), Paul Onuachu (Genk, Belgium), Ogenyi Onazi (Al Adalah, Saudi Arabia)


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