No surprises in Nigeria squad


Nigeria coach Festus Adegboye Onigbinde named his 23-man World Cup squad today, the day after his side's 1-0 win against Jamaica at Loftus Road.

As expected there was no place for Borussia Dortmund's Sunday Oliseh or Finidi George, both of whom played in the disappointing African Nations Cup campaign earlier this year in Mali.

Onigbinde, when he took over from the sacked Shaibu Amodu after the African Nations Cup, threatened to purge some of the old guard and former captain Oliseh, who plays for German champions Borussia Dortmund is the chief victim.

The majority of the squad play their football in Europe, including Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu, Chelsea's Celestine Babyaro and Jay-Jay Okocha of Paris St Germain.

Taribo West, who was recently released by German club Kaiserslautern, is also included in the 23.

Young Shakhtar Donetsk striker Julius Aghahowa, scorer of the first goal against Ireland at Lansdowne Road last Thursday, is included while Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder James Obiorah was rewarded for his winner against Jamaica on Saturday with a place in the squad.

Only one home-based player was selected, Gabros goalkeeper Austin Ejide, despite several being included in some of the warm-up matches.

Goalkeepers: Ike Shorunmu (Lausanne, Switzerland), Austin Ejide (Gabros), Vincent Enyeama (Enyimba)

Defenders: Efe Sodje (Crewe, England), Rabiu Afolabi (Standard Liege, Belgium), Ifeanyi Udeze (PAOK Salonika, Greece), Justice Christopher (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Taribo West (free agent), Joseph Yobo (Olympique Marseille, France), Celestine Babayaro (Chelsea, England), Eric Ejiofor (Maccabi Haifa, Israel), Isaac Okoronkwo (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine)

Midfielders: Mutiu Adepoju (Salamanca, Spain), Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha (Paris Saint Germain, France), Pius Ikedia (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), James Obiorah (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia), Benedict Akwuegbu (Shenyeng Gendi, China), Garba Lawal (Roda JC Kerkrade, Netherlands), Femi Opabumni (Grasshoppers, Switzerland)

Strikers: Julius Aghahowa (Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine), Bartholomew Ogbeche (Paris Saint Germain, France), John Utaka (Al Saad, Qatar), Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal, England).