After hours of waiting on Monday, Stephen Keshi released the final World Cup list at midnight. And as the drama and suspense that preceded the release, the list also came with some surprises.
Joseph Yobo will play in his third FIFA World Cup finals and have opportunity to become Nigeria’s first-ever century — international after he was named in the African champions’ final list of 23 for Brazil 2014 but African Nations Championship Most Valuable Player, Ejike Uzoenyi and AFCON winner, Sunday Mba failed to make the final cut. Gabriel Rueben and Babatunde Michael made the list.
Also going to their third World Cup are goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Austin Ejide, but midfield strongman Mikel Obi will only be attending his first finals after Nigeria narrowly missed Germany 2006 and he was omitted from South Africa 2010 due to injury.
Former junior international defender Elderson Echiejile and Olympic silver medallist Osaze Odemwingie, who were also in South Africa four years ago, make the cut for the biggest showpiece in football, starting in 10 days’ time.
South Africa 2013 top scorer Emmanuel Emenike is joined in the attack by England-based duo of Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi, and former junior international Uche Nwofor, but there is no place for Olympic silver medallist Obinna Nsofor and nimble-footed Nnamdi Oduamadi.
Home-based goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, diminutive midfielder Joel Obi and former U-23 star Nosa Igiebor also miss out on the trip to South America.
One of Nigeria’s first round opponents at the World Cup, Argentina released their list hours ahead of the time Nigerian officials had announced they would release the Super Eagles list on Monday.
Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero will join Lionel Messi and others in Argentina’s 23-man squad.
Coach Alejandro Sabella final selection is brimming with attacking talents.
Barcelona talisman Messi will lead the pursuit of global glory this summer, but he will be ably assisted by an enviable array of proven performers at the peak of their powers.
City striker Aguero falls into that category after helping to secure the Premier League title in 2013/14 – alongside fellow countryman Zabaleta.
Goalkeepers: Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, Chigozie Agbim
Defenders: Joseph Yobo, Elderson Echiejile, Juwon Oshaniwa, Godfrey Oboabona, Azubuike Egwuekwe, Kenneth Omeruo, Efe Ambrose, Kunle Odunlami
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi, Ogenyi Onazi, Ramon Azeez, Michael Uchebo, Reuben Gabriel
Forwards: Osaze Odemwingie, Ahmed Musa, Shola Ameobi, Emmanuel Emenike, Babatunde Michael, Victor Moses, Uche Nwofor.