After a rather tumultuous last couple years under Stephen Keshi, the Nigerian Football Federation seems to have finally turned a page by appointing former international Sunday Oliseh to lead the national team. It's unclear just what qualifications Oliseh may have for the job — and he's certainly no stranger to controversy — but he's laid down the marker with his first selection, leaving big-name players like John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses at home ... and not because of injury.
It is not clear if the bench role for the Chelsea duo accounted for their exclusion even as the new Eagles boss also overlooked the likes of Brown Ideye and Elderson Echiejile who have found it hard to get playing time at their respective clubs.
Regulars like skipper Vincent Enyeama, and defenders Godfrey Oboabona, Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo are in the 18-man list. There are however a number of surprises as earlier hinted by Coach Oliseh who asserted that players' will be invited based on their current form and first-level football role.
So that's all rather interesting as far as the Chelsea futures of the two men may be, depending on how much they value their international careers. The Turkish media certainly didn't waste any time in re-linking Mikel with a €5m move to Besiktas.
Kenneth Omeruo did get the call; the 21-year-old appears to be a first-choice center back at his temporary home in the Turkish league — he helped Kasimpasa to an opening day 3-0 win.
Oliseh's first test as head coach will come on September 5th against Tanzania. He called up no-less than 41 players (18 foreign-based and 23 home-based) to choose from!