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Nigeria Announce AFCON Squad, Mikel Returns

Nigeria have named their 25-man provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, with former Premier League star John Obi Mikel being named in the squad along with a Kaizer Chiefs player.

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Former Chelsea midfielder Mikel, who last featured for the team when he captained them at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, has completed his return to the Super Eagles side in the wake of a "productive" meeting with coach Gernot Rohr.

Despite a somewhat underwhelming season with Leicester City, striker Kelechi Iheanacho also completed a return to the national team fold.

The 22-year-old, who was the subject of criticism from Rohr earlier this year, will be hoping to get the monkey off his back by scoring his first international goal since finding the back of the net against Argentina in November 2017.

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Most of the players named in the provisional squad formed part of the Nigeria side that did duty at the World Cup in Russia, with the squad set to be reduced to 23 players after a warm-up clash against Zimbabwe on 8 June.

Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze and 2015 U17 World Cup winner Victor Osimhen have both been included, and will be hoping to get the nod for their maiden international tournament at senior level – in-form Chukwueze was omitted from the Nigeria U20 squad set to feature at the World Cup in Poland, clearing the way for a berth at AFCON.

The Super Eagles squad, which also includes Amakhosi star Daniel Akpeyi, will participate in a training camp in Asaba from 2 to 9 June, before jetting off to the Egyptian city of Ismaila for a pre-tournament friendly against Senegal on 16 June.

The three-time AFCON winners have been placed in Group B alongside Guinea, Madagascar and Burundi.

Nigeria's 25-man provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England)

Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Middlesbrough, England); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Israel)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi, Belgium); Moses Simon (Levante, Spain); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua, China); Alexander Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Paul Onuachu (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain)

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Standby: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal); Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly, Egypt); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC)

Which side are you backing to win AFCON 2019? Have your say in the comments section below.

 

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