Injury forces Francis Uzoho to withdraw from Nigeria squad

By Oluwashina OkelejiFootball Writer, France
Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho
Nigeria keeper Francis Uzoho sustained an injury during Elche’s 5-1 defeat at Cadiz

Injury has forced Nigeria's first-choice keeper Francis Uzoho to withdraw from the latest Super Eagles squad.

He has been replaced by Enyimba's Theophilus Afelokhai for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa on 17 November.

His Spanish second division club Elche say he will be out for four weeks with a rib injury sustained on Sunday.

It will be the first game Uzoho has missed since making his debut against Argentina last November.

The 20-year-old was one of several youngsters named in the squad by Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr alongside teenagers Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze.

The pair, who are 19, helped Nigeria win a fifth Under-17 World Cup in 2015.

John Mikel Obi, who captained the team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, has opted out for personal reasons.

Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi misses out through suspension after picking up too many yellow cards.

"We give opportunities to our young players like Osimhen and Chukwueze, and also hoping to have our captain Mikel Obi back whenever he is ready to come," coach Gernot Rohr confirmed.

It is a recall to the senior national team for forward Osimhen, who is on loan at Belgian side Sporting Charleroi from Wolfsburg while it is first call-up for Villarreal's Chukwueze.

Injury has ruled out experienced Ogenyi Onazi, but locally-based defender Adeleye Aniyikaye is included for the game against Bafana Bafana in Johannesburg on 17 November.

The Super Eagles then play a friendly against Uganda three days later at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba.

Nigeria top Group E with nine points from four matches, a point ahead of second-placed South Africa.

The three-time African champions will seal qualification to next year's tournament in Cameroon if they beat South Africa.

Nigeria 23-man squad:

Goalkeepers: Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy); Adeleye Aniyikaye (FC IfeanyiUbah); Semi Ajayi (Rotherham United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); William Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes, Spain); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn, Germany)

Midfielders: Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Vitoria Setubal, Portugal)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nasr, Saudi Arabia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (Levante, Spain); Victor Osimhen (Royal Charleroi SC, Belgium); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux, France); Isaac Success (Watford, England); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal, Spain)

Standby: Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray, Turkey); Chidozie Awaziem (Porto, Portugal); Nyima Nwagua (Kano Pillars); Sunday Adetunji (Enyimba); Junior Lokosa (Kano Pillars)

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