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 By Colin Udoh

Timbers' Fanendo Adi called up to Nigeria squad for first time

Fanendo Adi
Fanendo Adi helped the Portland Timbers to the MLS Cup title in 2015.

Nigeria have called up Portland Timbers striker Fanendo Adi for the first time, naming him in a 42-man preliminary squad ahead of their 2017 African Nations Cup qualifying double-header against Egypt.

Adi, 25, is one of 20 overseas-based players named by interim coach Samson Siasia in the squad for the games in Kaduna, on March 25, and Alexandria on March 29.

"It feels amazing to be involved in the national team," Adi said. "I was sleeping when my sister's husband called me to say he saw the list and my name was there. I couldn't sleep after that and went on Twitter to check and saw it on the NFF handle.

"I'm super excited and I can't wait for the moment. We are going to face two very tough games and everyone has to give everything. I will certainly give everything.

Adi has scored an impressive 25 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Timber from FC Copenhagen in 2014.

He will join a strike force that includes Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho, Watford's Odion Ighalo, Arsenal's Alex Iwobi and CSKA duo Ahmed Musa and Aaron Samuel.

Iheanacho, 19, made his Nigeria debut as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier against Swaziland in November. He was recalled after scoring nine times in 24 appearances for City this season.

Iwobi, a former England youth international, has yet to play in a competitive game for Nigeria.

West Ham's Victor Moses is also in line to make his first appearance for Nigeria since the 2014 World Cup.

Adi also said he is looking forward to meeting Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel.

"I'm looking forward to meet everybody but I have great respect for Obi Mikel," he said. "I like him a lot and I think he is an amazing guy and I will pleased to meet him."

Siasia, appointed in an interim capacity less than a week ago to replace Sunday Oliseh, left out defensive stalwarts Leon Balogun and William Troost-Ekong.

He said he expected his players to give everything and added: "I want to passionately appeal to Nigerians, everybody, to show belief in the team and give us total support. It will not be easy, but if we stick together and present a united force to fight this battle I believe we will triumph.

"I have absolute faith in the players. Nigeria is blessed with so many talented footballers across the world and I know that those we are inviting for this match will give everything for the six points in both matches."

The 22 domestic-based players in the squad are expected to report in Abuja on Sunday, March 6, while those based overseas are expected to arrive from Sunday, March 20.

Overseas-based professionals

Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers, England); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland); Abdullahi Shehu (Uniao da Madeira, Portugal); Elderson Echiejile (Monaco, France); Stanley Amuzie (Olhanense, Portugal); Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, Turkey)

Midfielders: Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio, Italy); John Obi Mikel (Chelsea, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Matalyspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Moses Simon (Gent, Belgium); Victor Moses (West Ham, England); Aminu Umar (Osmanlispor, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Watford, England); Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Fanendo Adi (Portland Timbers, United States)

Nigeria-based professionals

Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Sunshine Stars); Olufemi Thomas (Enyimba); Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers)

Defenders: Kalu Orji Okogbue (Enugu Rangers); Chibuzor Okonkwo (IfeanyiUbah); Mathew Etim (Enugu Rangers); Austin Oboroakpo (Abia Warriors); Sincere Seth (Rhapsody); Segun Oduduwa (Nath Boys); Chima Akas (Akwa United); Chris Madaki (Kano Pillars); Oke Ogogatewho (Sunshine Stars)

Midfielders: Ifeanyi Mathew (Kano Pillars); Usman Mohammed (Taraba); Etebo Oghenekaro (Warri Wolves); Yau Hassan (Wikki Tourists); Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves)

Forwards: Ezekiel Bassey (Enyimba; Prince Aggrey (Kano Pillars); Bright Onyedikachi (IfeanyiUbah); Chisom Chikatara (Abia Warriors); Godwin Obaje (Wikki Tourists)


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