2021 AFCON Qualifiers: Iheanacho, Balogun, Dessers Called Up For Super Eagles, Sierra Leone Clash

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho and on-loan Wigan Athletic defender Leon Balogun have both been recalled by Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr for this month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone according to reports carried by The Punch.

Belgian-born forward Cyriel Dessers is also in line for his debut after expectedly receiving his first call up for Nigeria.

The three-time African champions lead Group L after wins over Benin Republic and Lesotho in November.

Iheanacho earned the last of his 27 national team caps in a two-minute cameo in a November 2018 friendly against Uganda and has not featured for the Eagles since.

He was overlooked for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and was an unused substitute in his last call up for the friendly against Ukraine last October.

A return to form this season for Leicester City where he has scored 8 goals in 14 appearances in all competition seems to have restored him to Rohr’s good books.

Balogun’s international future looked to be over after the German-born defender was repeatedly overlooked for national team assignments following the conclusion of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations where he lost his place as a starter to Kenneth Omeruo.

His situation was made worse by the emergence of Semi Ajayi as Rohr’s preferred partner for William Troost-Ekong and a lack of game time at Brighton and Hove looked to have killed any chances of the famed “Oyibo Wall” partnership he’d formed with Troost-Ekong resurfacing.

However, a January move to Championship side Wigan Athletic where he’d become a fixture in the heart of the Latics defence seemed to have revived his international fortunes.

The former Mainz defender has started Wigan’s last five games and his presence has coincided with an upturn in fortunes for the Latics who have won their last three games without conceding to boost their survival chances.

The Punch reports that Spain-based duo Samuel Chukwueze and Ramon Azeez also made the list alongside Fortuna Düsseldorf goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, Glasgow Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo and England-based duo Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi.

Rohr has reportedly kept faith with the bulk of the squad which finished third at the 2019 AFCON with William Troost-Ekong, Ola Aina, Oghenekaro Etebo, Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen all retaining their places.

The first leg of the encounter between the Super Eagles and the Leone Stars have been fixed for 27 March at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba with the return leg scheduled for the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown four days later.