REUTERS - Nigeria have dropped African Nations Cup hero Sunday Mba from their World Cup squad, details of which were released after the midnight deadline on Monday for the submission of the final 23-man selection.
Mba scored the winning goal when Nigeria beat Burkina Faso 1-0 in the African Nations Cup final in South Africa last year, but the midfielder was among seven provisional squad members dropped by coach Stephen Keshi for the tournament in Brazil.
Also omitted were left winger Nnamdi Oduamadi, who scored a hat-trick at last year’s Confederation Cup in Brazil, and Victor Obinna, who scored a decisive free-kick for Nigeria in last November’s World Cup qualification play-off against Ethiopia.
Keshi said he had anguished over the final selection but would be retaining the sidelined players for a friendly against Greece in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Nigeria’s last warm-up international against the U.S. in Jacksonville on Sunday.
Drawn in Group F, Nigeria start their World Cup campaign against Iran in Curitiba on June 16 and also play against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Argentina.
Goalkeepers: Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Beer Sheva), Vincent Enyeama (Lille)
Defenders: Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars), Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Joseph Yobo (Norwich City)
Midfielders: Ramon Azeez (Almeira), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge)
Forwards: Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen), Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City)
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by John O'Brien