Again Kanu Nwankwo made the 44-man list of the new coach, at a time every football fan in Nigeria thinks he should call it quits. Utaka resurfaces following his last minute flashes these season and as promised 6 home based players join the party.
Portsmouth's John Utaka, FC Zurich's Onyekachi Okonkwo and Salzburg's Rabiu Afolabi have been handed Nigeria recalls by Technical Adviser Lars Lagerback.
Outside of that, there were no surprises in Lagerback's list of 44, released by the NFF on Sunday, with only three players getting first time call ups.
Those who advocates for more players from the domestic league would be placated after the Swede included six players from the Nigeria Premier League,and this was led by top scorer Ahmed Musa who plays for Kano Pillars.Whether Musa can replicate his league for m for the national team is a topic for the future, especially as Nigeria Premier League strikers are not known to stay consistent.
Chibuzor Okonkwo, seems to be the major casualty as he was upstaged in the home-based Super Eagles team by the impressive Terna Suswan of Lobi Stars. This could be good for competition.
Rising midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim's lack of club action also counted against him, as he was not included. But Haruna Lukman, who has locked down a place in the Monaco midfield, gets a chance to impress the new coach in camp.
The players are to report to camp in the United Kingdom from April 27 and 28. Well Lagerback and the 40 thieves plus 4. Just how well he can make a good team from this lot is yet to be seen. For now, let's just wish them well.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda, Israel), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikva, Israel), Greg Etafia (Moroka Swallows, South Africa) and Bassey Akpan (Bayelsa United, Nigeria)
Defenders: Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille, France), Elderson Echiejile (Rennes, France), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Onyekachi Apam (OG Nice, France), Olubayo Adefemi (US Boulogne, France), Joseph Yobo (Everton, England), Daniel Shittu (Bolton Wanderers, England), Ayodele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Michael Odibe (Siena, Italy), Sam Sodje (Charlton Athletic, England), Rabiu Afolabi (SV Salzburg, Austria) and Terna Suswan (Lobi Stars, Nigeria)
Midfielders/Forwards: Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Victor Anichebe (Everton, England), Chinedu Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany), Nwankwo Kanu, John Utaka (Portsmouth, England), Obafemi Martins (Wolfsburg, Germany), Brown Ideye (FC Sochaux, France), Femi Ajilore (Groningen, Netherlands), Joseph Akpala (FC Brugge, Belgium), Peter Utaka (Odense Boldklub, Denmark), Michael Eneramo (Esperance, Tunisia), Ikechukwu Uche (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga, Spain), Kalu Uche (Almeria, Spain), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham, England), Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England), Sani Kaita (Alaniya, Russia), Haruna Lukman (AS Monaco, France), Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev, Ukraine), Osaze Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Seyi Olofinjana (Hull City, England), Onyekachi Okonkwo (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Omatsone Aluko (Aberdeen, Scotland), Gabriel Reuben (Enyimba, Nigeria), Ahmed Musa, Solomon Okpako (Kano Pillars, Nigeria), Bartholomew Ibenegbu (Heartland FC).