SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC forwards Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez, in addition to midfielder Marco Pappa have been called into their respective national teams this week for a pair 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. Martins joins Nigeria for the first time since 2013, while Valdez reports to Paraguay and Pappa to Guatemala as all three players look to help their national team squads advance to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. All qualifying matches during the current FIFA break are being played on Friday, November 13 and Tuesday, November 17.
Martins joins Nigeria as a part of FIFA World Cup Qualifying out of the CAF – Africa’s governing football federation – with the Super Eagles playing a pair of fixtures against Swaziland, first traveling to Lobamba on Friday at 9:00 a.m. PT before hosting next Tuesday in Port Harcourt at 7:00 a.m. PT. This marks the first international call-up since 2013 for Martins, 31, who has 26 career caps for Nigeria.
Valdez, 31, joins Paraguay for CONMEBOL 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against Peru and Bolivia. Los Guaraníes first travel to face Peru in Lima at 6:15 p.m. PT on Friday before hosting Bolivia next Tuesday in Asuncion at 3:00 p.m. PT. Valdez has 68 international caps and 12 goals throughout his career, and most recently led Paraguay to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 Copa America.
Pappa, 27, joins Guatemala for a pair of World Cup Qualifiers as a part of Group C in CONCACAF. Los Azul y Blaco first hosts Trinidad and Tobago in Guatemala City on Friday at 5:00 p.m. PT before traveling to face St. Vincent and the Grenadines next Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. PT. Pappa has 52 career caps and 11 goals for Guatemala, and most recently scored in a 1-1 friendly draw with El Salvador on October 13.
Seattle Sounders FC concluded its 2015 Major League Soccer campaign on Sunday night following a penalty shootout loss to FC Dallas in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals.