Nigeria have included Kano Pillars’s Junior Lokosa and Crotone’s Simeon Nwankwo in their 30-man preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Lokosa has been in terrific form in the Nigeria Professional Football League scoring 18 goals in 21 matches – including a brace against Katsina United on Sunday.
26-year-old Nwankwo gets his maiden international call-up thanks to his fine form in the Italian topflight where he has scored six goals in his last seven outings.
FC Crotone striker Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo, NPFL leading scorer Junior Lokosa, Plateau United goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye as well as Stephen Eze have been listed on Nigeria’s provisional World Cup squad.
The Super Eagles are heading to their sixth World Cup, having taken part in the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 editions – with aplace in the Round of 16 their best performance ever.
Gernot Rohr has stuck with the quartet of Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Dele Ajiboye, Daniel Akpeyi and youngster Francis Uzoho in the goalkeeping department.
Regulars such as John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses, William Troost-Ekong and defensive partner Leon Balogun made the cut.
Also in the team are Leicester City’s duo of Wilfried Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Ogenyi Onazi, Kenneth Omeruo, Ahmed Musa and China-based Odion Ighalo.
But missing from the 30-man selection released on Monday are Brown Ideye, Dele Alampasu, Anthony Nwakaeme, Henry Onyekuru, Victor Osimhen and Kayode Olanrewaju.
Nigeria begin their 2018 Fifa World Cup campaign against Croatia on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium before facing Iceland (June 22) and Argentina (June 26) in Volgograd and Saint Petersburg respectively.