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Yobo heads Nigeria World Cup squad

Thursday, June 05, 2014
ABUJA -- Veteran defender Joseph Yobo will travel to his third World Cup after reviving his international career with Nigeria and making coach Stephen Keshi's 23-man squad for Brazil.

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Yobo said he was retiring after Nigeria won the African Nations Cup last year, but was back in favour and made the final list released by the national federation on Tuesday. The players are currently in the U.S. for their final tournament preparations.

Midfielder John Obi Mikel and strikers Emmanuel Emenike, Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie were also picked. But midfielder Sunday Mba, who scored the winning goal in the ANC final, was left out after he joined the squad late because of travel visa problems.

The Super Eagles play Greece and the U.S. in their final warm-up games this week before facing Iran, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Argentina in Group F.

At the World Cup, Yobo has the chance to become Nigeria's first player to win 100 caps. His international career appeared over after he was used only as a substitute in the latter stages of the victorious African Nations Cup campaign last year in South Africa, and he said after the final it would be his last tournament with the team. The Norwich centre-back was recalled and captained Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw with Scotland in London last week. 

Keshi also gave a second chance to  striker Odemwingie, who was out of contention last year after apparently falling out with the coach. The Stoke City forward is joined by fellow Premier League attackers Ameobi and Moses.

Emenike, who was the joint-top scorer at the African Nations Cup, and CSKA Moscow's Ahmed Musa give Nigeria a host of attacking options.

Chelsea's Mikel will play at his first World Cup after he missed out four years ago because of an injury, and is joined by Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi. Vincent Enyeama of French club Lille will likely be the first-choice goalkeeper.

Nigeria haven't reached the second round of a World Cup since 1998.

Nigeria's 23-man World Cup Squad

Vincent Enyeama (Lille), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be'er Sheva), Chigozie Agbim (Gombe United); Joseph Yobo (Norwich), Elderson Echiejile (Monaco), Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod), Godfrey Oboabona (Caykur Rizespor), Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves), Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough), Efe Ambrose (Celtic), Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars); John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio), Ramon Azeez (Almeria), Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge), Reuben Gabriel (Waasland-Beveren); Peter Odemwingie (Stoke), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow), Shola Ameobi (unattached), Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce), Michael Babatunde (Volyn Lutsk), Victor Moses (Liverpool), Uche Nwofor (Heerenveen).

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