Nigeria to Continue to back China-based Players


The Nigeria Football Association has assured that the likes of Odion Ighalo, Brown Ideye and John Obi Mikel will get ample national team opportunities despite switching to the Chinese Super League.

In spite of this, the trio have missed out on the selection with skipper Mikel in particular nursing an injury.

"The season in China is still ongoing and it will be a hectic journey," Super Eagles spokesman ToyinIbitoye told BBC Sport. "Coach Rohr has decided to keep faith with the strikers he's been working with in France for almost ten days now but those players in China are still part of the squad."

Victor Moses, who recently guided Chelsea to a fifth Premier League triumph also missed out on the squad, but Ibitoye insisted that the player was left out through injury, he said: "Moses has been excused by the coach". Nigeria have often produced youngsters, who have performed in the under-17 and under-19 level, but their potential has not quite gone beyond that.

In spite of this, the Super Eagles are willing to offer ample opportunities to their upcoming prospects with Victor Osimhen and Henry Onyekuru earning their chance with the senior squad. Nigeria are currently in pole position to clinch their entry into the 2018 World Cup following wins over Algeria and Zambia, both of whom have impressed in recent years.

African teams have not quite managed to push the extra yard at the World Cup stage with Ghana being the last team to reach the quarter-finals only to be denied their progress via a Luis Suarez handball. The country eventually lost a penalty shootout to the South American nation, who themselves bowed out in the penultimate round.

Nigerians have always made a huge mark at the youth level, thus earning the wonder kid tag, but rarely has this potential been turned into actual performances at a higher level of competition.