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Izuchukwu Anthony: Spartak Trnava defender joins Nigeria camp after late call-up

2:34 AM EDT 6/3/21
Nigeria's Super Eagles
The Slovakia-based centre back has teamed up with Gernot Rohr’s squad in Austria after being handed a late invitation

Spartak Trnava’s Izuchukwu Anthony has earned a late call-up to the Nigeria senior national team for Friday’s international friendly against Cameroon.

The 23-year-old was invited to give coach Gernot Rohr options in the defence following injuries to regular faces.

They include Torino’s Ola Aina, West Bromwich Albion’s Semi Ajayi, FC Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi, Benfica’s Tyronne Ebuehi and Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma.

Anthony was part of the Nigeria U23 squad that failed to impress at the 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations staged in Egypt.

There, he featured in all games but Imama Amapakabo’s men failed to get past the group stage – which ultimately cost them a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

In the 2020-21 campaign, he featured in 18 league games as Michal Gasparik’s men finished in fourth place having accrued 35 points from 22 points.

Having arrived in the Super Eagles’ Austria camp, he is expected to train with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning – a day before the showdown against the Indomitable Lions at the Wiener Neustadt Stadium.

Despite having a depleted squad, coach Rohr has taken positives from the absence of key players while stating that the game against the five-time African champions would help his team prepare well for September’s World Cup qualification games.

“The training session was okay; the condition was good. The grass was good, and the weather was not too hot. I think we can prepare well here in Austria,” the German tactician told the NFF website.

“You see that so many players are not here for this test match. It's an opportunity to try other players, to see new faces and then have the chance for something.

“It is also important to prepare well for the World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde. So, we must use this opportunity to be ready and have a good competition in the team.”
 

Super Eagles in camp

Paul Onuachu, Ahmed Musa, Moses Simon, Francis Uzoho, John Noble, William Troost-Ekong, Alex Iwobi, Shehu Abdullahi, Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Chidozie Awaziem, Jamilu Collins, Peter Etebo, Valentine Ozornwafor, Abraham Marcus, Anayo Iwuala, Terem Moffi, Peter Olayinka, Izuchukwu Anthony and Samson Tijani.