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Eguavoen unhappy with NPFL representation in Super Eagles squad

Gernot Rohr named two players from the Nigeria Professional Football League in his latest Nigeria squad, but former head coach Austin Eguavoen believes that there should have been greater NPFL representation in the 28-man selection.

Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Gabriel Okechukwu were included in the selection for upcoming friendlies against Poland and Serbia, with Stephen Eze, who joined Bulgaria's Lokomotiv Plovdiv from Kano Pillars earlier this year, also named.

However, Eguavoen, who has had two stints as national-team boss, believes that more players from the NPFL should have been included.

"I saw the list and it's a good one," he told Complete Sports Nigeria, "but I think there should be more players from the league in his squad."

Indeed, Rohr largely ignored the African Nations Championship squad that reached the final in Morocco last month only to be defeated by the hosts.

Dele Ajiboye didn't make the cut despite his semi-final heroics, while last term's NPFL top scorer Anthony Okpotu and midfield dynamo Dayo Ojo were also overlooked.

Full-backs Osas Okoro, Daniel Itodo and Ikouweum Utin are also set to watch on from the outside next summer after missing a big opportunity to make a case for their inclusion in the squad to Russia.

"Eze was a standout player from the African Nations Championship, so he deserved his place," Eguavoen added.

"Gabriel Okechukwu is good striker and he possesses a certain unpredictability when playing which could be an asset," the former international continued. "[He's] relatively unknown, and could spring surprises."

One of the biggest talking points from Rohr's squad for the upcoming friendlies was the inclusion of Al Ahly forward Junior Ajayi.

The striker has impressed in the Egyptian top flight for the Cairene giants, netting eight in 23 so far this term, and has the quality to be a valuable asset to the Eagles' forward options.

"Ajayi as well has proved his worth playing for Al Ahly in the continent," Eguavoen concluded, "but let's see how they will all fare."

Nigeria meet Poland at the Stadion Miejski on March 23, before meeting Serbia at Barnet's Hive Stadium in London four days later.

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