Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr is thrilled by the aerial ability of big defender Valentine Ozornwafor, who has been handed his first national call-up for the 2019 AFCON qualifier against Seychelles and the international friendly against Egypt later this month.
The Flying Eagles star is a surprise call-up for both games, having just played one domestic league game for Aba giants Enyimba before the invitation.
Ozornwafor, however had a great outing at the recent U-20 AFCON in Niger, where Rohr was in the stands to watch the team.
“I expect this player (Ozornwafor) to bring his freshness, his physical strength (1m97) and technical quality. It also offers us an additional option since we have a lot of right sided defenders. I saw him in Niger at the U-20 AFCON and I like his aerial game,” Rohr told cafonline.
The German last week released a 23-man list for the games with captain Mikel Obi omitted again despite his impressive form for English Championship club Middlesbrough.
Mikel, 31, has not made an appearance for the Eagles since their exit from the 2018 World Cup in Russia but Rohr insists the former Chelsea midfielder still has a future in the team.
Also left out is Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, who has struggled for regular playing time in the EPL this season.
“He (Mikel) arrived in Middlesbrough recently. He told me he was not ready and needs to work after his knee injury in China. He did not play all winter either. He is not ruled out of AFCON but could not make the matches in Asaba. We will see for the future.
“Kelechi needs to play with his club. He also needs to take advantage of the international break to show his qualities to his new coach. I give him time but there is danger for the CAN for those who do not play regularly in their club. The final list for the AFCON far from being made for anyone,” Rohr added.
Amidst rumours that retired Fernabahce forward Victor Moses would make a return to the side for the AFCON, Rohr added, “I was against his international retirement and, if he changed his mind, he must tell me but I have no information about it. We’ll see.”