Nigeria’s clubless captain, Ahmed Musa and his assistant, William Troost-Ekong from Watford of England led the way for early arrivals to the Super Eagles’ camp on Sunday, as the squad gathered ahead of this weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin Republic.
The squad will also battle Lesotho at home next week Tuesday in their final game of the race to Cameroon 2022, ahead of which Musa and Troost-Ekong were joined in camp by the England-based duo of Ola Aina and Semi Ajayi as well as Galatasaray of Turkey pair of Oghenekaro Etebo and Henry Onyekuru.
Megasportsaena.com gathered that, while Etebo has made two appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, both coming against Sierra Leone, his teammate Onyekuru has been in the international wilderness since he got off the bench against Algeria at the last AFCON in Egypt during the summer of 2019.
Originally on the standby list, Onyekuru gained his first invitation to the Eagles since starring in the bronze medal winning side at the 2019 AFCON as a replacement for Girondins-Bordeaux of France’s injured winger Samuel Kalu, and will now try to convince the head coach, Gernot Rohr to give him a starting spot.
Rohr turned up in camp late Sunday after watching a Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match at Agege Stadium, Lagos, where home team, Mountain of Fire & Miracles (MFM) FC fell 2-1 against Akwa United of Uyo.
The Franco-German coach is now looking forward to stating full training Monday evening, as his side that currently sit top of Group L with eight points from four matches hope to quickly wrap up qualification with a single point from this Saturday’s game away to The Squirrels and get only a formality game versus Lesotho three days later in Lagos.
Heading into the first of those two games, Rohr has hinted that he only gave a ‘ceremonial’ call-up to Musa, who is currently unattached after a much-expected move to West Bromwich Albion of England fell through last month.
On the other hand, Aina and Troost-Ekong were in action for their clubs on Friday and Saturday respectively, but Ajayi has been inactive for over one month due to injury and suspension, with his last appearance coming against Burnley on February 20.
Rohr has also been hit by withdrawals, as Kalu’s injury was followed by news that fellow-France-based attacker, Moses Simon’s club, FC Nantes withdrew him on account of worries over COVID-19, with same fate befalling the Spain-based duo of Kenneth Omeruo and Umar Sadiq; but the three-time African champions will qualify for Cameroon 2022 if they draw or win on Saturday.