… as Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro lists Ekong, Simon, Osimhen, 20 others for Sao Tome and Principe tie
Clubs in São Tomé & Príncipe, the Central African island country, are protesting the exclusion of their players as the national team coach, Adriano Eusebio presents for the first time ever, all-foreign based players in a competition.
São Tomé & Príncipe will face Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Sunday in Uyo, attempting to save face after a string of four losses and a draw in the preceding five qualifying matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Owing to the fact that all 22 players listed for the Nigerian challenge are based outside the country, local clubs are reacting with astonishment, remembering that this is the first time in the history of São Tomé football that no player who plays in the domestic league is on the guest list, Sports Village Square reports.
Adriano Eusébio told local outlet, Téla Nón that the absence of the “nationals” (players who play in the main national competitions) was due to the fact that the call-up is a preview for the next qualifying games for the World Cup qualifiers.
For the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, São Tomé & Príncipe are in Group H along with Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Malawi and Liberia.
“This call is already thinking about the World Cup qualifying games that start in November, we have to take into account that at this time, we will not have championships in the country and the players will be in vacation mode,” Eusébio noted.
Eusébio added that with the growing wave of emigration, the team lost the base core that was made up of players who played in the main national championships, so, in the need to build a team of continuity that provides guarantees, it turned 100% to the diaspora.
It should be noted that Sunday’s game is the second ever between the two countries. In the first match played last year in Morocco, Nigeria won 10-0, the biggest win that the national team has recorded in 74 years since first constituted in 1949.
Adriano Eusébio’s São Tomé & Príncipe players:
Goalkeepers: Ronaldo Silva, Pedro Mateus, Feher Mendes
Defenders: Adjakson Ramos, Rogério Fernandes, Elias Varela, Adjeil Neves, Lúcio Oliveira, Leonildo Soares, Auleocarcio Sacramento
Midfielders: Ricardo Fernandes, Aldair Cruz, Denilson Silva, Marco Paulo, Ebanilson Viegas, Luís Selemane, Geoxking C. Alegre, Edmilson Viegas
Forwards: Luís Leal, Ronaldo Afonso, Valter Rocha, Ricardo Cardoso
Meanwhile, Super Eagles head coach, Jose Santos Peseiro, has invited on-field captain William Ekong, defender Tyronne Ebuehi and Semi Ajayi, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Frank Onyeka, and forwards Moses Simon, Victor Osimhen and Taiwo Awoniyi, among others, to next weekend’s qualification series final-day encounter against Sao Tome and Principe slated for the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, on Sunday, 10 September, thenff.com reports.
Peseiro called three goalkeepers (including home-based Olorunleke Ojo), eight defenders, four midfielders, and eight forwards for the game,
Nigeria, on 12 points from their previous five matches, are already guaranteed a place in the finals but must earn at least a point to be sure of topping the group ahead of second-placed Guinea Bissau, who are on 10 points and play at home to Sierra Leone in Bissau.
Peseiro has called for the first time, Belgium-based centre-back Jordan Torunarigha and forwards Victor Boniface and Gift Orban, and there are recalls for Portugal-based left-back Bruno Onyemaechi and defensive midfielder Raphael Onyedika.
All Super Eagles invited players:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Jordan Torunarigha (KAA Gent, Belgium); William Ekong (PAOK FC, Greece); Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Gift Orban (KAA Gent, Belgium); Victor Boniface (Bayern Leverkusen, Germany).