ABUJA-Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu has dropped goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and red-hot forward Ike Uche but named Carlton Cole in his squad to face South Africa in September’s 2010 World Cup/African Nations Cup qualifier.
The West Ham striker is part of a 20-man squad released by the Nigeria Football Federation on Monday in Abuja, which also has Italy-based AC Cesena defender Ola Daniel as a surprise inclusion.
NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told KickOffNigeria.com that the unexpected composition of the list is borne of a desire to try new options.
“By and large, the list underscores Nigeria’s desire to try new options against the backdrop of the Super Eagles having already picked a ticket for the third and final phase of qualifying which begins in March 2009,” Olajire said.
Ignored along with Enyeama is Austin Ejide, who missed the first four qualifiers to injury but has now fully recovered. In their place Amodu has listed Dele Aiyenugba and the South Africa-based Greg Etafia, with Bayelsa United goalie Akpan Bassey on standby.
There is a recall for defender Danny Shittu, who returns to the fold for the first time since the Cup of Nations finals in Ghana, as well as Obafemi Martins, who recently lost his mother.
There are also two home–based stars on standby, Bayelsa United goalkeeper Akpan Bassey and Kano Pillars striker Abubakar Baleria, who was listed as Kabiru Baleria.
Nigeria, with 12 maximum points from their first four matches, have to play South Africa away at Port Elizabeth and Sierra Leone at home (October 11) before the draw for the third and final phase of the qualifying campaign that will take place in Cape Town, South Africa before the end of the year.
THE FULL SQUAD
Bamidele Aiyenugba, Greg Etafia
Taye Taiwo, Joseph Yobo, Danny Shittu, Chidi Odiah, Yusuf Mohammed, Obinna Nwaneri, Ola Daniel
John Mikel Obi, Seyi Olofinjana, Lukman Haruna, Kalu Uche, Yusuf Ayila
Nwankwo Kanu, Carlton Cole, Obafemi Martins, Emmanuel Okoduwa, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, John Utaka.
Bassey Akpan, Kabiru Baleria.