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Nigeria omit bereaved Ighalo from Zambia WC qualifier

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Nigeria and Watford striker Odion Ighalo (C) is tracked by Tanzania defender David Mwantika during the Africa Cup of Nations qualification match in Uyo, Nigeria, on September 3, 2016 © AFP/File / Pius Utomi Ekpei

ABUJA, Nigeria, Sep 23Watford striker Odion Ighalo has been excused from Nigeria’s World Cup qualifier in Zambia to attend his father’s funeral, but club team-mate Isaac Success has been handed a first call-up.

Ighalo will bury his late father in Nigeria on October 8, a day before the away clash in Ndola.

Skipper John Obi Mikel, his deputy Ahmed Musa and in–form Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho are all in the 23–man squad, as Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr keeps faith largely in the players who defeated Tanzania 1-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier early this month.

But Rohr has also added young Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi, defender Kenneth Omeruo of Alanyaspor in Turkey and Belgium–based midfielder Anderson Esiti.

And for the first time he has drafted in Success, who has enjoyed a good start to life in the English Premier League with Watford after his £12.5 million ($16.4m, 14.4m euros) signing from Granada in Spain.

Also in the squad is Moses Simon, after the KAA Gent striker gave assurances to Rohr that he will be fit after injury.

The players are expected to start arriving in Abuja from October 2.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Carl Ikeme (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah)

Defenders: Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05/GER), William Paul Ekong (Haugesund FC/NOR), Kenneth Omeruo (Alanyaspor FC/TUR), Jamiu Alimi (Kano Pillars), Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta/CYP), Musa Muhammed (Istanbul Basaksehir/TUR), Elderson Echiejile (Standard Liege/BEL), Kingsley Madu (SV Zulte Waregem/BEL)

Midfielders: John Obi Mikel (Chelsea/ENG), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor/TUR), Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk/BEL), Nosa Igiebor (Maccabi Tel Aviv/ISR), Anderson Esiti (KAA Gent/BEL)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City/ENG), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City/ENG), Moses Simon (KAA Gent/BEL), Victor Moses (Chelsea/ENG), Isaac Success (Watford/ENG), Brown Ideye (Olympiacos/GRE), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal/ENG)

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