Three-time champions Nigeria have picked a team of 25 players for their onslaught for a fourth Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title.

This is according to a statement by Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Thursday in Abuja.

It said the Head Coach, Jose Peseiro, had settled for usual suspects in a roster that had three goalkeepers, nine defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards.

“Captain Ahmed Musa returns to the squad after he was left out of the starting games to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification series, while South Africa-based goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabili, is picked alongside Francis Uzoho and Olorunleke Ojo.

“2009 U17 World Cup star, Kenneth Omeruo, (the only other candidate in the team, apart from Musa who was in Nigeria’s 2013 squad that triumphed in South Africa), leads the defenceline.

“Omeruo is paired alongside William Ekong, as well as Olaoluwa Aina, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi, Calvin Bassey, Zaidu Sanusi, Chidozie Awaziem, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Bruno Onyemaechi.

“Wilfred Ndidi is also back after missing the World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

“He will be expected to adequately feed the strike-force alongside Alex Iwobi, Raphael Onyedika, Joe Ayodele-Aribo and Frank Onyeka,” it said.

The statement also said Musa, Nigeria’s record goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup finals with a brace each in Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018, was in the forward-line alongside Africa Player of the Year, Victor Osimhen.

It said other forwards included; Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Boniface, Sadiq Umar and Ademola Lookman.

It added that all the 25 players would depart from their different bases on Tuesday to fly into Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, for a one-week training camp.

It noted that the training camp would last until Jan. 9, 2024.

“The team will fly back to Lagos on Jan. 9, and then fly into the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, on Jan. 10,” it said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles, in their quest for a fourth continental title, will take on Equatorial Guinea on Jan. 14, 2004, in their first match of Group A.

This is before further clashes with host nation Cote d’Ivoire (Jan. 18) and Guinea Bissau (Jan. 22).

Nigeria, who will be participating in the AFCON for the 20th time, were champions as hosts in 1980, triumphant in Tunisia in 1994 and crowned winners in South Africa in 2013.

When Cote d’Ivoire hosted the finals in 1984, a young Nigerian squad led by the inimitable Stephen Keshi went all the way to the Final.

They, however, lost to much-experienced Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in a memorable final at the Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny in Abidjan.

Full list of all invited players:

Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabili (Chippa United, South Africa); Francis Uzoho (Omonia FC, Cyprus); Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba FC).

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Nottingham Forest, England); Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); William Troost-Ekong (PAOK Salonika, Greece); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal).

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Joe Ayodele-Aribo (Southampton FC, England); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England).

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor K, Turkey); Victor Osimhen (Napoli SC, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan, Italy); Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany). (NAN)

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