Former Arsenal star Nwakali in Nigeria squad despite not playing since March

Nigerian Kelechi Nwakali training at former club Arsenal

Former Arsenal midfielder Kelechi Nwakali, who has not played club football since March, has been named in Nigeria's squad for this month's Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The 21-year-old's loan spell at FC Porto's B side last season was cut short due to visa problems, while struggles with work permit has left him inactive since quitting Arsenal for Spanish second division side SD Huesca in early September.

"I have had problems with my work permit for Spain but I will finally be able to play for Huesca after the tournament in Egypt," Nwakali whose last club appearance was as a late substitute for Porto B against Cova Piedade on 17 March, said.

Coach Imama Amapakabo included the 2015 Under-17 World Cup and Golden Boot winner in his 21-man squad for the continental finals, which will also decide Africa's three teams for the 2020 men's Olympic football tournament.

Amapakabo has picked a squad dominated by overseas-based players including Liverpool's Taiwo Awoniyi who is on loan at German Bundesliga side Mainz, Watford's Tom Dele-Bashiru and Bright Enobakhare of Wigan Athletic on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The three goalkeepers for the finals in North Africa are all home-based players, while İstanbul Başakşehir midfielder and 2016 Rio Games bronze medallist Azubuike Okechukwu will captain the side.

Defending champions Nigeria will play Ivory Coast, Zambia and South Africa in that order at the Al Salam Stadium in the capital Cairo.

Nigeria's 21-man squad

Goalkeepers: Adamu Abubakar (Wikki Tourists); Mohammed Galadima (Nasarawa United); Kingdom Osayi (Giant Brillers)

Defenders: Olisah Ndah (Remo Stars); Samuel Atavti (Esperance, Tunisia); Valentine Ozornwafor (UD Almeria, Spain); Sincere Seth (Boluspor, Turkey); Josiah Chukwudi (Spartak Tranava, Slovakia); Anthony Izuchukwu (Nest Sotra, Norway); Bitok Stephen (FC Isloch, Belarus)

Midfielders: Sunusi Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Aliyu Yau Adam (Spartak Jurmala, Latvia); Muyiwa Olabiran (Tambov, Russia); Kelechi Nwakali (Huesca, Spain); Ndifreke Effiong (Akwa United); Sunday Faleye (Wacker FC, Austria); Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford, England); Azubuike Okechukwu (İstanbul Başakşehir, Turkey)

Forwards: Orji Okwonkwo (Montreal Impact, Canada); Taiwo Awoniyi (Mainz 05, Germany); Bright Enobakhare (Wigan Athletic, England)

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