2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Okoye missing as Nigeria commence preparation for Central African Republic

Ahead of Thursday’s qualifier in Lagos, Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles trained for the first time and they were without the Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper

The Nigeria senior national team had their first training session in Lagos ahead of Thursday’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against the Central African Republic.

The three-time African kings take on the Wild Beasts in the Group C fixture, as they continue their bid to earn a place in Qatar.

Under the watchful eyes of German tactician Gernot Rohr at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, all the invited players except Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper took part in the training focused on ball work.

Rohr’s men will hold their second warm-up on Wednesday morning to finetune their strategies for the important encounter against Raoul Savoy’s team.

Three days after Thursday’s crunch fixture, Nigeria travel to the Accra Sports Stadium for the return leg.

Victory in both games will take them a step closer to the all-important knockout rounds that will produce Africa’s five flagbearers in Qatar.

Meanwhile former Nigeria international Victor Ikpeba stated the Super Eagles will win the double-header, albeit, he is concerned about the lack of creativity in midfield.

“On paper, it looks very clearly that we will pick the six points but we have to be very careful because football is always played on the field of play. However, we lack that creativity in the midfield,” Ikpeba said on SuperSport TV.

“We don’t have those players such as [Jaj Jay] Okocha and [Wilson] Oruma in the midfield that can create chances for our strikers.

“In Africa, it’s fine but playing at the world stages, we need someone that is creative. Alex Iwobi can’t do the job for us.”

Super Eagles in Camp

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim, Germany)

Midfielders: Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Innocent Bonke (Malmo FF, Sweden); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Kalu (FC Bordeaux, France); Victor Osimhen (Napoli FC, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Paul Onuachu (KRC Genk, Belgium); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)



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