Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has named a considerable number of players with World Cup experience in his 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup and has got 18 debutants in his final 23 squad.
Kenneth Omeruo is the only defender who was in the Stephen Keshi squad that played in Brazil in the last FIFA World Cup. Elderson Echiejille featured in the 2010 edition.
John Obi Mikel will be playing his second FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Ahmed Musa and Eddy Ogenyi Onazi complete a list of five players who have competed at the World Cup finals in the past.
The rest of the 18 players in Rohr’s squad have not played at the World Cup levels before.
Futbalgalore.com takes a look at the players who aiming for their debut chance.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi
The trio were not involved in the neither Nigeria’s campaign in South Africa nor Brazil. Uzoho, the first keeper named by Rohr made his international debut for Nigeria against Argentina in a friendly last year.
Akpeyi’s place in the squad comes on the back of his impressive show in the South Africa Premier League. He has been capped seven times by Nigeria.
Ezenwa shows up as the only home-based player named in the squad. He plays for former Nigeria Professional Football League champions Enyimba and won the heart of the Nigeria squad selectors following his impressive form at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Note: The three keepers who were picked by Keshi for the 2014 World Cup include Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide and Chigozie Agbim.
Defenders: William Troost-Ekong (Bursaspor, Turkey), Leon Balogun (Brighton, England), Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal), Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey), Tyronne Ebuehi (Benfica, Portugal)
Kenneth Omeruo and Elderson Echiejille are the only two defenders named in the squad who played at the last World Cup in the defensive department the rest earn their places after their impressive performances. Leon Balogun, William Troost Ekong and Shehu Abdullahi all played instrumental roles in the qualifiers and have been rewarded for their performances. Tyronne Ebuehi and Chidozie Awaziem were back ups in the qualifiers, excellent friendly games sealed Bryan Idowu’s ticket to Russia.
Midfielders: John Ogu (Hapoel Beer Sheva, Israel) Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England), Oghenekaro Etebo (Feirense, Portugal) Joel Obi (Torino, Italy)
John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi have World Cup experience while the rest of the 5 players named in the department have had no experience at the event. Joel Obi could have played at the 2014 finals but was dropped at the last minute due to fitness issues. John Ogu also missed the last finals despite playing in the 2013 Confederation Cup. However, he would have to vie for a place in Nigeria’s midfield in Russia. Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo are important members of the Eagles team. They will be crucial in Russia.
Attackers: Odion Jude Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England), Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone, Italy)
Ahmed Musa along with Victor Moses are the attackers who would be making their second appearances at the finals. Musa scored two goals against Argentina in Brazil 2014. Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Simeon Nwankwo named in the strikeforce will be looking to write their names in Gold.