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The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News: Nathan Tella receives first call-up to the Eagles, while Musa and Troost-Ekong are benched in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers

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    The Super Eagles manager, Jose Peseiro, has again overlooked the duo of Ahmed Musa and William Troost-Ekong, in the list of 23 players to execute Nigeria’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

    On Thursday night, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) released the list of players for the upcoming clashes.

    The omission of the substantive Eagles skipper, Musa and his assistant, Troost-Ekong was, however, the major talking point.

    It is the third consecutive invitation Musa would not be considered by the Eagles technical adviser.

    Ekong was on the bench last September for Nigeria’s last 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe in Uyo, before he was left out of the last international friendlies against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique.

    Bayer Leverkusen forward Nathan Tella earns his first call-up to the national team, following his impressive campaign for the German club so far this season.

    Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi returns to the team after missing the warm up games in October, due to a groin injury.

    There are three goalkeepers in the list: Francis Uzoho and Olorunleke Ojo and Maduka Okoye. Defenders Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Bright Osayi-Samuel made the cut, and forwards Ademola Lookman, Victor Boniface and Terem Moffi are also on the roster.

    Defender Jamilu Collins makes a return after a long lay-off due to injury. Real Sociedad attacker Sadiq Umar also makes a return after a long absence.

    The Eagles kick-start their race to the huge houseparty in the United States of America, Mexico and Canada in 2026 with a game against the Crocodiles of Lesotho at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo next week Thursday, and then fly to Rwanda for a clash with the Warriors of Zimbabwe at the Huye Stadium in Butare on Sunday, 19th November.

    The 20,000-capacity Huye Stadium, located in the city of Butare which is 135 kilometres south of the Rwandan capital, Kigali, has an artificial turf.

    Zimbabwe has adopted Rwanda as home for the qualifiers as no stadium in the southern African nation has been deemed fit to host the FIFA World Cup qualifying games.


    Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC); Maduka Okoye (Udinese Calcio, Italy)

    Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff FC, Wales)

    Midfielders: Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England)

    Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Terem Moffi (OGC Nice, France); Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany).


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