Coach Stephen Keshi appears to have bowed to pressure as he invites the Villarreal striker Ikechukwu Uche to the national team as he was named on Friday in the 25-man squad to face Congo and South Africa in the Morocco 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Spain-based Uche has been in the international wilderness for nearly two years after Keshi refused to invite the 30-year-old, who helped Nigeria win the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa last year.
Keshi, who claimed the former Real Zaragoza star lacked “tactical discipline”, stuck to his guns to exclude Uche from his 23-man squad from last summer World Cup in Brazil, in spite of the pressure mounted on him from some quarters to take the player to the tournament.
Nigeria need to win the games against Congo in Pointe-Noire on November 15 and South Africa in Uyo four days later – hoping the Congolese drop points against Sudan – to stand any chance of defending their title in Morocco.
However, Keshi has kept faith with majority of the players who have been part of the the qualifiers.
Captain Vincent Enyeama tops the list consisting of Godfrey Oboabona, Elderson Echiejile, Efe Ambrose, Ogenyi Onazi, Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Emmanuel Emenike, Austin Ejide, Gbolahan Salami and Juwon Oshaniwa.
Also on the list are Hope Akpan, Raheem Lawal, Sone Aluko and Osaguona Ighodaro.