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Rohr hands first call-ups to Michael, Bonke for World Cup qualifiers

Uramahmedia


• England-based stars may miss Cape Verde clash

Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr has named a 30-man squad for the team’s opening 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde with debut call-ups for Bologna midfielder Kingsley Michael and Innocent Bonke, who plays for Malmo FF in Sweden.

Rohr announced the list in a statement by the Communications Department of the Nigeria Football Federation, which was made available to our correspondent on Thursday.

The Eagles play Liberia at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Sept 3, before traveling to Mindelo to play Cape Verde four days later.

Captain Ahmed Musa leads the team, which also has six English Premier League players William Troost-Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Glasgow Rangers duo Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun complete the eight-man UK contingent.

The inclusion of the EPL players comes despite a statement by the Premier League that it would not release its players for World Cup qualifiers in COVID-19 ‘red zones’ over the possibility of facing a 10-day quarantine period upon return to the UK.

The Uramahmedia reported on Thursday that FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asking for some considerations to allow players to represent their countries in the World Cup qualifiers.

The NFF said on Thursday that seven new players were added to the normal 23-man squad to give room for the possibility of the England-based players not being able to travel to Cape Verde, which is in UK’s ‘red zone’ list.

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“The situation with UK-based players, who may not be heading to Cape Verde (which is on the red list of the British Government with regards to the global coronavirus pandemic) has enlarged the roster, and should the situation remain unchanged, the eight UK-based players on the list would head back to base after the clash with Liberia at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Friday,” the NFF said.

Also in the team are regulars Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Kenneth Omeruo, and Chidozie Awaziem.

Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Paul Onuachu, Jamilu Collins, and Shehu Abdullahi are also on the Eagles team.

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