After Nigeria’s inability to qualify to the knockout stages of the just concluded FIFA World Cup in Russia, attention now turns to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers where the team will be aiming to qualify after missing out in two previous editions consecutively.
However, in a bid to aid Nigeria’s quest, Soccernet.ng‘s Augustine Akhilomen takes a look at some new players who can add value to the present Super Eagles.
One of the most impressive players in the Super Eagles team B that narrowly lost 3-2 to Atletico Madrid in an international friendly match prior to the World Cup, Kelechi Nwakali’s stunning strike against an experienced Atletico side and his ability to control the midfield with his visionary passes could just be the needed asset for Gernot Rohr in the midfield of the Super Eagles team A.
It was quite obvious that the team’s lack of creativity in the heart of the midfield was one of the reasons Nigeria crashed out of the World Cup. And Kelechi could be the ideal solution since Mikel Obi’s days in the team are numbered.
If he was discovered early enough, perhaps he could have made the trip to the 2018 World Cup based on his superb performance against DR Congo, where he dazzled from the right flank.
The Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) highest goal scorer with 18 goals, is certainly one of the league’s brightest stars who can add more value to the Super Eagles ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers slated for September.
Super Eagles technical adviser, Gernot Rohr should consider Lokosa due to his pace, dribbling skills and goal scoring instinct.
A brother to Kelechi Nwakali, the Manchester City star may have been underrated at the Etihad Stadium but then, he showed a glimpse of what to expect next season with an eye-catching performance against Atletico Madrid in an international friendly game for Super Eagles team B before the World cup Russia 2018.
A quality to behold, Chidebere is certainly going to be an added asset to the current Super Eagles squad, especially in the middle of the pack where the likes of Mikel Obi and Onazi are gradually coming to the end of their senior team career.
Muhammad is another player who could give Shehu Abdullahi a run for his money in the right full back of the Super Eagles if given the chance to prove his mettle. His second goal against Atletico Madrid in Nigeria’s 3-2 loss in an international friendly was a replica of Austine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha’s goal against Bayern Munich while playing for Frankfurt in the Bundesliga in the early 90s.
Usman was a dominant force in the midfield against Atletico Madrid and capped his performance with a beautiful goal which saw him dribble past several defenders.
With the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier set to begin in September, Super Eagles coach; Gernot Rohr should look towards the direction of Muhammad to add more steel to Nigeria’s defence.
One of Nigeria’s hottest strikers in Africa, Junior Ajayi hasn’t been given the opportunity to prove his mettle in the colours of the Super Eagles despite his rich goal scoring form.
The former Flying Eagles star should be one of the players who deserve to be in the team ahead of Nigeria’s resumption to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Seychelles and Libya later this year.
If the Everton striker could maintain full fitness ahead of the new season in Europe, there is a possibility that he could be given a look in by Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr.
Onyekuru, who had a decent performance for Anderlecht on loan before a nasty injury marred his World Cup campaign, has the goal scoring instinct to change Nigeria’s profligacy in front of goal as the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers is set to begin in September this year.
A revelation at the 2017 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) where he scored three goals despite coming off the bench, Gabriel Okechukwu is an ideal player who can fit into Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr’s plan in a bid to add competition in the team striking department.
The Akwa United striker stands as a long-term solution for Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo, who had an unimpressive performance at the 2018 World Cup where Nigeria crashed out in the Group stages.