Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NPL trio tickled by Eagles' call

Bassey Ezekiel, Gomo Onduku (pictured) and Tony Okpotu are over the moon after they were named among 23 Nigerian home-grown players for the 2013 Afcon qualifying against Liberia.

The three players, who play for Nigeria Premier League (NPL) teams, could not contain their excitement when they spoke to on Tuesday.

Lobi left-back, Ezekiel told "I wasn't really expecting this 100 percent but I always knew I had a chance of being called up to the team based on my recent performance at my club. I must admit I was excited when I was told because it is my first time to be invited to the national team.

"I'll just go there and enjoy myself, learn from everything and take my opportunity. It's a big chance for me and I will take it."

Sharks' winger, Onduku, who won the League Bloggers Award (LBA) Player of April 2012, believes the call presents him with a clear chance of breaking on to the international scene.

"I'm happy this is happening now as I'm in my best form and I'm also healthy. Personally this is a chance to show I can give my best to my country and hopefully I'll prove that to the coaches," said the former Bayelsa United man, who netted nine goals last term.

Okpotu, who has already featured for the Nigerian Under20s, was minimal with words as he could only relish the moment.

"I'm so happy. It's a dream come true for me as a player," said the Lobi Stars' striker.

It is the first time the three players are being called to the Super Eagles.

Other new players called up to the Nigerian team by Stephen Keshi are Brendan Ogbu (Heartland), Tony Okpotu (Lobi Stars), Mannir Ubale (Kano Pillars) and Fidelis Saviour, who is expected to complete a move from FC Taraba to Enyimba in the 2012/2013 Premier League campaign.

Keshi also named 15 overseas players including Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi for the game against Liberia in Calabar on October 13.

Nigeria will open their camp for the Liberia game on September 30 with the arrival of the home-based stars in Abuja while the overseas players are expected to join the team before October 8.


GOALKEEPERS: Chigozie Agbim (Warri Wolves), Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland)

DEFENDERS: Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Papa Idris (Kano Pillars), Godfrey Oboabona (Sunshine Stars), Umar Zango (Kano Pillars), Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars), Bassey Ezekiel (Lobi Stars), Kingsley Udoh (Heartland)

MIDFIELDERS: Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers), Sunday Mba (Warri Wolves), Gabriel Reuben (Kano Pillars), Henry Uche (Enyimba), Christian Ofili (ABS), Solomon Jabason (Akwa United), Philip Asuquo (3SC), Gomo Onduku (Sharks)

ATTACKERS: Fidelis Saviour (FC Taraba), Sanusi Sani (Gombe United), Izu Azuka (Sunshine Stars), Brendan Ogbu (Heartland), Tony Okpotu (Lobi Stars), Mannir Ubale (Kano Pillars)

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