Kanu named as captain of Nigeria
ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) -- Nigeria named six players with World Cup experience on Monday in its final 23-man squad for next month's tournament in South Africa.
Nwankwo Kanu will captain the side at his third World Cup, the Nigerian Football Federation said on Monday.
Coach Lars Lagerback, who made his choice after just two games in charge, also included Rabiu Afolabi, Vincent Enyeama, Austin Ejide, John Utaka and Joseph Yobo from the squad that took part in the 2002 finals.
The Swede cut Everton's Victor Anichebe and winger Ike Uche, who was Nigeria's top performer in the qualifiers, from his preliminary squad.
Both had recently returned from long-term injury and although they played in the warm-up games, officials said Lagerback had decided against taking any chances on their fitness.
"He explained that time was too short, and that injuries were also a factor," the team's media officer Idah Peterside said.
Also left out was Nice defender Onyekachi Apam, who had not been able to train over the last two weeks because of a knee injury.
But Lagerback did include Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel whi has recently returned from knee surgery.
Goalkeepers: Dele Aiyenugba (Bnei Yehuda), Austin Ejide (Hapoel Petah Tikvah), Vincent Enyeama (Hapoel Tel Aviv).
Defenders: Dele Adeleye (Sparta Rotterdam), Rabiu Afolabi (Red Bull Salzburg), Elderson Echiejile (Stade Rennes), Chidi Odiah (CSKA Moscow), Danny Shittu (Bolton Wanderers), Taye Taiwo (Olympique Marseille), Joseph Yobo (Everton).
Midfielders: Yusuf Ayila (Dynamo Kiev), Dickson Etuhu (Fulham), Sani Kaita (Alania Vladikavhaz), Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth), Haruna Lukman (Monaco), John Obi Mikel (Chelsea), Kalu Uche (Almeria), John Utaka (Portsmouth).
Strikers: Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Everton), Obafemi Martins (VfL Wolfsburg), Obinna Nsofor (Malaga), Chinedu Obasi (Hoffenheim), Peter Odemwingie (Lokomotiv Moscow).