2014 World Cup: Odemwingie, Yobo named in Nigeria 30-man squad - Uche, Martins axed
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has recalled England-based duo of Peter Odemwingie and Joseph Yobo but sensationally axed Ikechukwu Uche, the country’s leading scorer in Spain from the provisional 30-man World Cup squad.
There was also no place for out-of-favour forwards Brown Ideye and Obafemi Martins, plus defender Taye Taiwo.
Keshi kept faith with 18 of his squad that lifted the African Cup of Nations in 2013, while there is a surprise inclusion of Joel Obi and Uche Nwofor.
Odemwingie ended his feud with Keshi in April after the pair fell out after the striker’s omission from the Cup of Nations squad, but he has scored six goals in 14 Premier League appearances for Stoke City to put him back in the frame.
Also handed a recall is captain Joseph Yobo, 33, who has not played for Nigeria since they won the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last year.
Uche, the leading Nigerian scorer this season has scored 12 goals in the Spanish league and he is regarded as one of the Super Eagles most reliable strikers.
But in rejecting him, Keshi said he was not tactically disciplined. Uche has not played for Nigeria since featuring at the 2013 Africa Cup Nations which the country won in South Africa.
John Mikel Obi of Chelsea and Liverpool’s Victor Moses lead a cast of 19 returning players from the Nations Cup squad despite both struggling for first-team football, but Hull’s Sone Aluko is left out.
The three-time African champions will face Scotland in a friendly on 28 May at Craven Cottage, before they depart for their training camp in Houston, Texas.
They will also play friendly internationals against Greece and the United States in June as part of their warm-up for this year’s World Cup.
The West Africans will play Greece in Philadelphia on 3 June then face USA in Jacksonville, Florida on 7 June.
The deadline to name the final 23-man squad is 2 June.
Nigeria will face Argentina, Iran and Bosnia in Group F of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
Provisional Nigeria squad:
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama (Lille FC, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel), Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United)
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (AS Monaco, France); Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, England); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Joseph Yobo (Norwich City, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (SS Lazio, Italy); Joel Obi (Parma, Italy); Nnamdi Oduamadi (Varese, Italy); Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Nosa Igiebor (Real Betis, Spain), Sunday Mba (CA Bastia, France), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren, Belgium), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk, Ukraine).
Forwards : Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce, Turkey); Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona, Italy); Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City, England), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium); Victor Moses (Liverpool, England), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen, Holland).