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Nigeria name squad for World Cup qualifier against Sudan

© Reuters Limited 2001

By Eniwoke Ibagere

LAGOS, June 18 (Reuters) - Nigeria named a 36-strong squad on Monday as they began preparations for their World Cup qualifier against Sudan on July 1 in Omdurman. The players, who included the 18-man squad that defeated Namibia 2-0 in an African Nations Cup qualifier at the weekend, will start training on Wednesday in the northern city of Kano, the Nigerian Football Association (NFA) said. After a week in Kano, which is expected to have the same hot and humid weather as Omdurman, the group will be trimmed to 18.

Coach Amodu Shaibu opted for a large squad to avoid "a repeat of the embarrassment of players' withdrawal before our home match against Madagascar on June 2 in the Nations Cup qualifiers," NFA spokesman Austin Mgbolu told Reuters. Several of Nigeria's leading overseas-based players pulled out before the match, while others were inexplicably absent. Shaibu was only able to raise a team hours before kick-off after hurriedly drafting in some players from domestic clubs.

"Every Nigerian is hopeful we'll beat Sudan and Ghana in our last matches and then Liberia will slip, so we can qualify for a third consecutive World Cup finals," said Mgbolu. Nigeria, with 10 points, are two points behind surprise group B leaders Liberia after six matches. Sudan are third with nine points, followed by Ghana and Sierra Leone, with five and four respectively. Sudan and Ghana have a game in hand. Only the group winners will qualify for next year's finals in Japan and South Korea.


Ike Shorounmu (Beskitas), Idah Peterside (Tembissa Classics), Murphy Akanji (Julius Berger), Rotimi Sunday (El-Kanemi FC), Austin Ejide (Gabros FC)
Taribo West (ex-Derby County), Patrick Ovie (Ironi FC), Rabiu Afolabi (Napoli), Ifeany Udeze (PAOK Salonica), Sylvanus Ebiaku (Bendel Insurance), Isaac Okoronkwo (Shaktar Donetsk), Emeka Ifejiagwa (VfL Wolfsburg), Eric Ejiofor (Enyimba FC), Friday Onyekwuru (Rangers FC), Oremi Oruambo (Sharks FC), Emmanuel Ejike, Joseph Yobo (Standard Liege)
Kelechi Okoye (Rangers FC), Duke Udi (Enyimba FC), Sunday Oliseh (Borussia Dortmund), Garba Lawal (Roda Kerkrade), Austin "Jay-Jay" Okocha (Paris Saint Germain), Karibe Ojigwe (Bayer Leverkusen), Justice Christopher (Bendel Insurance), Finidi George (Real Betis)
John Utaka (Ismailia FC), Haruna Doda (Santa Clara), Ishola Shaibu (Julius Berger), Emmanuel Issah (Katsina FC), Nwankwo Kanu (Arsenal), Victor Agali (Schalke 04), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Maccabi Haifa), Kayode Idowu (Bendel Insurance), Julius Aghahowa (Shaktar Donetsk), Pius Ikedia (Ajax), Tijjani Babangida (Genclerbirligi).

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