In a release by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday night, the home-based Super Eagles coach called up several players from the side which finished runner-up at the WAFU Cup last year in Ghana.
The team boasts a couple of regulars and veterans in the Nigerian professional football league (NPFL) such as goalkeeper and captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa, midfield stalwart Rabiu Ali as well as the top scorer last season in the NPFL Anthony Okpotu. There were also first-time call-ups for defenders Abdullahi Musa and Ikouwem Udoh.
Salisu, however, chose to drop MFM football club duo Victor Mbaoma as well as CNN Goal of the week winner Sikiru Olatunbosun from the final squad. Nasarawa United goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso, Plateau United youngster Tosin Omoyele and Lobi Stars striker Kingsley Eduwo would also be disappointed to miss out.
The home-based super eagles have stepped up their preparation for the tournament after victory at the NPFL Pre-Season Invitational final with friendlies against domestic teams. The selected players and officials should depart to Morocco in a few days to intensify preparations as the tournament draws nearer,
Nigeria’s opening match in Morocco would be against Rwanda in Tangier on Monday January 15, after which they would take on 2014 champions Libya at the same Ibn Batouta Stadium in Tangier on Friday, January 19 before travelling to Agadir to tackle Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday, January 23 in their last match of the group phase.
Yusuf and his team would hope to advance further to the next round bettering a group stage exit at the last edition.
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC), Oladele Ajiboye (Plateau United), Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba FC)
Defenders: Osas Okoro (Rangers International), Daniel James (Plateau United), Kalu Orji Okogbue (Rangers International), Ikouwem Udoh (Enyimba FC), Abdullahi Musa (Wikki Tourists), Timothy Danladi (Katsina United); Ifeanyi Nweke (Kano Pillars), Stephen Eze (Kano Pillars)
Midfielders: Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United), Emeka Atuloma (Rivers United), Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars), Augustine Oladapo (Enyimba FC), Ekundayo Ojo (Sunshine Stars)
Forwards: Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars), Eneji Moses (Plateau United), Ibrahim Mustapha (Enyimba FC), Emeka Ogbugh (Rivers United), Sunday Faleye (Akwa United), Nura Muhammed (El-Kanemi Warriors), Okechukwu Gabriel (Akwa United)