Stoke City of England midfielder, OIghenekaro Etebo on Thursday joined the array of players who have withdrawn from Sunday’s international friendly against Brazil, but no reason was cited for his decision, which was announced by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), megasportsarena.com gathered.
While injuries were cited for the earlier withdrawals by Brighton of England defender, Leon Aderemi Balogun, Leganes of Spain stopper, Kenneth Omeruo, Tirono of Italy full-back, Ola Aina and Girondins-Bordeaux of France winger, Samuel Kalu, the NFF were silent on Etebo’s reasons for pulling out of the epic game.
The NFF’s information department simply stated late Thursday that Etebo was a late withdrawal from the roster, but all other 21 players invited for the game trained on Thursday morning and will again line out for two sessions on Friday.
The official training session at the match venue, Singapore National Stadium, will take place on Saturday, with the game itself scheduled to kick off at 1pm Nigeria time on Sunday, as the three-time African champions aim to get a historic victory against The Samba Boys.
Thursday’s 1-1 draw Brazil played with Senegal will give the Eagles additional confidence that they can join Cameroon as the only African country to beat the South American side, ahead of which Gernot Rohr was delighted that he had full capacity for the start of training in Singapore.
Rohr opted not to call-up any more players following the withdrawal of Etebo, and Wednesday’s withdrawal of Aina, due to a domestic accident, as the Franco-German already replaced Omeruo with Tyronne Ebuehi, while Efosa Viv Solomon-Otabor got his debut invitation in place of Kalu.
Solomon-Otabor and Slavia Prague of Czech Republic forward, Peter Olayinka are in the Nigerian senior camp for the first time, while Ebuehi returns for the first time since the FIFA World Cup in Russia, following a long bout with several injuries since June 2018.
Former junior international midfielder and captain, Ramon Azeez also makes a return, after last starring at Brazil 2014 World Cup, while defenders Abdullahi Shehu and Chidozie Awaziem, as well as Leicester City midfielder, Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi are back after missing the 2-2 draw in a friendly with Ukraine in Dnipro last month.
The 21 players avbaible to Rohr for Sunday’s game are three goalkeepers Francis Uzoho (Omonia, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Heartland) and Emil Maduka Okoye (Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany), as well as defenders: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Leganes, Spain); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica, Portugal); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn, Germany); and sOluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England).
Others are midfielders: Alex Iwobi (Everton, England); Anderson Esiti (PAOK, Greece); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ramon Azeez (Granada, Spain); as well as forwards: Victor Osimhen (Lille, France); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain); Efosa Solomon-Otabor (CSKA Sofia, Bulgaria); Paul Onuachu (Genk, Belgium); Emmanuel Dennis (Club Brugge, Belgium); and Peter Olayinka (Slavia Prague, Czech Republic).