Forward Odion Ighalo and midfielders Alex Iwobi and Semi Ajayi were among the first arrivals in the Super Eagles’ camp in Asaba on Monday as the countdown began for Friday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against the Pirates of Seychelles.
Three-time African champions Nigeria have already secured a spot at the Africa Cup of Nations holding in Egypt this summer, and the encounter against the Pirates is hardly more than an academic affair. But the Eagles have spoken of a need to end the qualification series on a high and maintain reputation while using the game to kick-start preparations for the AFCON.
They take on the Pirates at the Stephen Keshi Stadium as from 4pm on Friday.
Goalkeepers Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Daniel Akpeyi are all in town, as well as home-based professionals Ikouwem Udoh, Ndifreke Effiong and Valentine Ozornwafor.
The bulk of the invited group of 23 will come in on Tuesday, with the international friendly against the Pharaohs of Egypt on Tuesday next week also in mind.
Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr called up 23 players for the two matches, with Ikouwem Udoh and Ndifreke Effiong leaping onto the list as a result of injuries to Samuel Kalu and Ola Aina.