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Nigeria vs Seychelles: Why I Invited Ighalo – Rohr

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Despite criticism in some quarters over the inclusion of Odion Ighalo in the 28 players invited to prosecute the country’s September 7 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifier against Seychelles in Victoria, Head Coach Gernot Rohr, has appeared unperturbed.

The German tactician has rather stuck to his decision as the national team gets set to open its camp in Abuja before jetting out for the September 7, away clash.

He noted that though Ighalo who last scored for the Eagles a year ago against Cameroon in Uyo, missed begging chances against Argentina in Russia which failed to impress some of the fans, he nonetheless deserves another opportunity to make amends.

He insisted that Ighalo still has a role to play in his formation to secure the maximum 3 point in the crucial duel adding that “this is an opportunity for him(Ighalo) prove his critics wrong.”

Rohr continued, “He has been scoring in China and he is very motivated to do so for the Super Eagles now.”

On Sunday, the 29-year-old striker scored his 16th goal in the Chinese Super League. The Nigerian international emerged the hero of Changchun Yatai after he scored the equaliser to make sure they didn’t lose at home to Hebei CFFC in a game which ended 2-2.

The former Watford striker who scored 15 goals for Changchun Yatai last season put a smile on the faces of Changchun Yatai fans as he scored in the 89th minute to level the goal margin.

A breakdown of the 28-man squad released on Friday showed that 24 players were listed as regulars, while four players were listed as stand-by, comprising Uche Agbo who plays for Standard Liege, Belgium, Eze Stephen who stars with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Musa Mohammed starring for Hnk Gorica, Croatia and Blessing Eleke.

The 24 invited players are goalkeepers Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC) and Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa).

Eight defenders were invited including Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Semi Ajayi (Rotterdam United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain) and Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany).

Rohr picked six midfielders comprising Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto, Portugal) and Joel Obi (AC Chievo Verona, Italy)

Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia) leads the list of strikers which include Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone FC, Italy); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England) and Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France).

Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor revealed on Friday that the invited players are expected to fly directly to Seychelles, arriving on Monday, 3rd September, while the one player (goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa) and team officials travelling from Nigeria will fly into Victoria on Sunday, 2nd September.

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BREAKING: Arsenal Sacks Unai Emery After 18 Months

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Arsenal has sacked head coach Unai Emery.

The 48-year-old has left the club following Arsenal’s worst run of form since 1992 with the Gunners winless in seven games and eight points off the top four in the Premier League.

Freddie Ljungberg will lead Arsenal for Sunday’s game away to Norwich City.

A 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League proved to be the final straw for the Arsenal hierarchy, who had hoped to be able to wait until the end of the season before making a decision on Emery’s future.

The Spaniard faced mounting criticism for fans not just for results but for a style of play at Arsenal that was viewed by many as too conservative.

Speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.”

In his only full season in charge, Emery led Arsenal to fifth place in the Premier League, a run of two wins in their final seven games seeing them throw away a top-four finish and a Europa League final where defeat to Chelsea cost them Champions League qualification.

Returning to Europe’s top competition is a major priority for Arsenal both in terms of finances and prestige. It was felt that the club’s chances of qualifying were greater without Emery than with him.

Arsenal will be appointing just their third manager in 23 years with the likes of Mikel Arteta and Massimiliano Allegri expected to be under consideration for the role.

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Mourinho Meets Arsenal Chief, Set To Replace Embattled Gunners Manager Emery

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Arsenal is reportedly close to making their move to replace manager Unai Emery with former Chelsea boss, Mourinho.

Arsenal head of football, Raul Sanllehi dined with Jose Mourinho this week as the club considers pulling the trigger with a managerial change, according to The Times.

The Gunners have struggled to make progress under Unai Emery and growing concerns over fractures in his relationships with senior players have led to contingency plans being put in place.

According to the newspaper, Mourinho and Sanllehi had dinner together, with the former Manchester United boss said to have impressed with his plans for their squad.

It is claimed Emery has just one or two games remaining to save his job as club bosses seriously consider a move ahead of the November international break.

Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw at the Emirate by Wolves on Saturday, with pressure mounting on Emery.

Mourinho has been holding out for a return to the Premier League as he eyes his first job since being sacked at Old Trafford almost a year ago.

The former Real Madrid boss have also retained a home in north London.

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Ukraine vs Nigeria: New Super Eagles Invitee, Maja Takes Over Mikel Obi’s Number 10 Shirt

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New Super Eagles invitee, Josh Maja, will be wearing jersey number 10 for Tuesday’s international friendly against Ukraine at the Dnipro Arena, according to Sporting Life.

The iconic jersey was worn by John Mikel Obi, who retired from international football after this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Maja who plays for French Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux, was a late call up for the friendly following the withdrawal of key players.

Alex Iwobi, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Ola Aina, William Troost-Ekong, and Leon Balogun have retained their shirt numbers ahead of the match.

Rohr’s men will be facing a Ukraine side, that has never lost to an Africa side in the last seven years.

Kick off is 7.30pm.

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