On-loan Arsenal forward Kelechi Nwakali said he is pleased to have received his first senior call-up for Nigeria after he was named in the squad to face Seychelles next week.
Coach Gernot Rohr released the list of invited players for their African Cup of Nations qualifier on Friday, with Nwakali making the list along with Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi.
He certainly seemed pleased to get the opportunity, posting on Instagram to express his gratitude.
Nwakali has technically appeared for the Nigeria senior side once before, playing in an unofficial friendly against Atletico Madrid at the end of last season. He was very impressive on the day, scoring from range to give his country the lead.
This time around the game really counts for something though. Nigeria currently sits third in their AFCON qualification group, having lost their first match against South Africa 2-0.
Seychelles are below them on goal difference, so it’s important that the Super Eagles get the win before they have to face group leaders Libya.
The biggest positive for Arsenal fans is that this should help Nwakali to get a work permit to play in England in the future.
Nigeria is currently ranked in the top 50 FIFA nations, so if Kelechi can play for them consistently for the next two years, he’d automatically qualify for a permit.
Even occasional starts at such a young age might help him get one, through the appeals process. Good luck to him if he gets any game time next week!