Atalanta star Lookman headlines Nigeria World Cup squad

football25 May 2024 09:30| © AFP
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Ademola Lookman © Getty Images

Ademola Lookman, fresh from a historic hat-trick in the Europa League final, will hope to make a similar impact for Nigeria in June's 2026 World Cup qualifiers after being named in new head coach Finidi George's squad.

A formidable squad boasts Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface of German champions Bayer Leverkusen, although the latter and his club were ripped apart by Atalanta striker Lookman in last Wednesday's Europa League final.

Lookman became the first player to score a hat-trick in a Europa League final – the first in a European final since 1975 – to secure Atalanta's first-ever continental trophy.

Nigeria face South Africa on June 7 in Uyo, before playing Benin in Abidjan three days later.

George has kept faith with the bulk of the squad who were beaten by hosts Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations final in February.

The squad has been further strengthened by the return of Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi and Boniface, who did not feature at the Africa Cup of Nations due to injury.

There are just two home-based players, Remo Stars defender Sadiq Ismael and goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo.

Nigeria Squad:

Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United/RSA), Maduka Okoye (Udinese/ITA), Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC)

Defenders: Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista/POR), Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce/TUR), Sadiq Ismael (Remo Stars FC), Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Calvin Bassey (Fulham/ENG), Benjamin Tanimu (Ihefu SC/TAN)

Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge/BEL), Alhassan Yusuf Abdullahi (Royal Antwerp/BEL), Frank Onyeka (Brentford/ENG); Alex Iwobi (Fulham/ENG), Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayspor/TUR)

Forwards: Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Victor Osimhen (Napoli/ITA), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City/ENG), Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan/ITA), Paul Onuachu (Trabzonspor/TUR), Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC/ITA), Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Terem Moffi (Nice/FRA)