Mikel, Ighalo, Iheanacho lead 35-man provisional squad for Olympics

Mikel Obi Super Eagles of Nigeria

Chelsea midfielder, John Obi Mikel, and fellow Barclays Premier League players, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho, have been named in a 35-man provisional list for the Rio Olympics.

Nigeria’s Dream Team VI automatically qualified for this summer’s Olympic games after winning the 2015 CAF U-23 AFCON.

The list released by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Friday is dominated by players from the senior national team, the Super Eagles, with only 10 members of the victorious squad to Senegal shortlisted.

Skipper Mikel, 30, Ighalo, 28, Chippa United shot stopper, Daniel Akpeyi, 29, and Godfrey Oboabona, 26, will all jostle it out for three available spots for overage players.

While Iheanacho, who was speculated to miss the tournament, will lead the young generation of Eagles first team players in the squad.

The Manchester City starlet is joined by Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, Belgium based trio, Moses Simon, Imoh Ezekiel and Wilfred Ndidi, Kingsley Madu of AS Trencin, Musa Mohammed and FC Porto’s Ndubuisi Agu.

The likes of Kenneth Omeruo, Shehu Abdullahi, William Troost-Ekong, Aminu Umar and Usman Abdullahi, with over 50 caps between them, will provide the needed experience.

Dream Team regulars, Taiwo Awoniyi, Stanley Amuzie, Saviour Godwin, Oghenekaro Etebo and skipper, Okechukwu Azubuike, were all included.

The team will depart the country next week for a final training camp in Atlanta, United States of America (USA) before facing Mexico and Honduras on July 2 and 27 respectively.

It is after these two games that the final list of 18 players will be released by Coach Samson Siasia.

The 35 invited players

Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa FC, South Africa), Yusuf Bala (Kano Pillars), Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers), Taiwo Abdulrahman (Kwara United), Ndubuisi Agu (FC Porto, Portugal), Junior Ajayi (CS Sfaxien, Tunisia), Stanley Amuzie (Olhanense FC, Portugal), Taiwo Awoniyi (Frankfurt FC, Germany), Okechukwu Azubuike (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey), Etor Daniel (Enyimba FC), Augustine Dimgba (Sunshine Stars), William Ekong (Haugesund FC, Norway), Saturday Erimuya (Kayseri Erciyespor, Turkey), Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense FC, Portugal), Imoh Ezekiel (Anderlecht, Belgium), Saviour Godwin (Ostende, Belgium), Odion Ighalo (Watford FC, England), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England), Emiloju Julius (MFM FC), Kingsley Madu (AS Trencin, Slovakia), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea FC, England), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir, Turkey), Usman Muhammed (CF Uniao, Portugal), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium), Erhun Obanor (MFM FC), Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor, Turkey), Kenneth Omeruo (Chelsea FC, England), Sodiq Saliu (Seraing FC, Belgium), Abdullahi Shehu (CF Uniao, Portugal), Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium), Seth Sincere (Rhapsody FC), Ndifreke Udo (Abia Warriors), Aminu Umar (Osmalispor, Turkey), Sadiq Umar (AS Roma, Italy)