Imama Amapakabo, head coach of the “Dream Team VII” has listed Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Nwakali and twenty-one others for the first leg Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifying match against Libya.
The team departed Nigeria via Royal Air Maroc flight on Monday morning for Bengerdan, venue of the Friday’s encounter.
After camping for almost three weeks, the former Enugu Rangers’ coach opted for a mixture of local and foreign-based professionals for the battle against the Libyans.
In the list of home-based players is Flying Eagles shot-stopper Olawale Oremade who led two other goalkeepers whilst Lobi Star’s trio of John Lazarus, Ebube Duru, and Ugochukwu Anumudu also made the cut.
Other home-based players in the party include Akwa United full-back Etiboy Akpan and Enyimba’s Oluwadamilare Olatunji. Portugal- based Tosin Kehinde and Chidera Ezeh and Russia-based Olabiran Muyiwa were the only overseas-based players to depart with the team from Nigeria.
Other invited overseas-based professionals such as Taiwo Awoniyi, Kelechi Nwakali, Azubuike Okechukwu, and new Club Brugge forward Dennis Bonaventure are expected to join the team in Tunisia on Monday directly from their bases in Europe.
The first leg of the clash will be played on Wednesday in Bergandan and the return leg is scheduled for Asaba on March 25.
Winner over both legs will advance to the final round of qualifiers in June.
The delegation of Nigeria’s U23 squad will land at the Djerba International Airport, which is 20 minutes’ drive to the town of Bengerdan.
List of 23 invited players
Goalkeepers: Olawale Oremade (Kwara Utd), Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourist), Mohammed Galadima (Nasarawa United)
Defenders: Joshua Akpudje (MFMFC), Ugochukwu Anumudu (Lobi Stars, Makurdi), Oluwadamilare Olatunji (Enyimba FC), Stephen Egbe (Enyimba FC), Adebayo Ojo (Brookes FC, UK) John Lazarus (Lobi Stars, Makurdi) Etiboy Akpan (Akwa United) , Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars, Makurdi)
Midfielders: Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto B, Portugal), Azubuike Okechukwu (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey), Orji Okonkwo (Impact Montreal, Canada), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal CF, Spain), Tosin Kehinde (CD Feirense, Portugal), Fatai Gbadamosi (Shooting Stars FC)
Forwards: David Okereke (Spezia FC Italy), Chidera Ezeh (Portimonense FC, Portugal), Taiwo Awoniyi (Royal Mouscron, Belgium), Muyiwa Olabiran (Tanbov FC, Russia), Kingsley Michael (AC Perugia, Italy) (, Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge FC, Belgium)