The Super Eagles resume their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign next month when they take on Sierra Leon in back to back matches.
Nigeria host the first leg on March 27 at Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, while the return leg takes place in Freetown five days later.
Gernot Rohr’s men sit comfortably at the top of Group L with six points from two games. The three-time African champions opened their campaign with a 2-1 victory against Benin before picking up the three points in their clash against Lesotho at Maseru.
Rohr is expected to name his squad for the clash against Sierra Leone early next month, and he is likely to stick with the same set of players that played the first two games.
The German tactician may not want to tinker with a winning squad, but some players have played themselves into contention and could earn a call-up.
Soccernet.ng takes a look at some of the players could earn a recall or a first invite for the clash against the Leone Stars.
Kelechi Iheanacho: He was once one of the regulars in the squad, but Kelechi Iheanacho has found himself out of the team due to lack of activity at his club and poor attitude.
The former Manchester City man struggled to get game time at Leicester, while Rohr also complained of his effort in training.
As a result, he was not included in the Super Eagles squad that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The last time he got an invitation was in September when Super Eagles played Ukraine in an international friendly.
However, with his form for Leicester over the last three months, the 23-year-old is on course to get a recall to the national team.
His first appearance in the league this season only came at the start of December, but he’s been reborn since that time. Iheanacho is Leicester’s third-highest goalscorer this season despite playing for just 653 minutes so far.
Should he maintain this form coupled with his reputation in the national team, it’ll be hard for Rohr not to hand him a recall next month.
Josh Maja: Maja earned his first and only debut for Nigeria in the 2-2 draw against Ukraine last September. Since then, he has not been called up by Rohr due to the level of competition in Super Eagles attack.
But he could find himself back in the fray following an improvement in his performances at Bordeaux. The 21-year-old has scored seven times this season, but six of those came in the last three months.
Rohr also spoke fondly of him recently, and with Emmanuel Dennis struggling for goals at Club Brugge, Maja could find himself back in the national team.
Odion Ighalo: Although Ighalo announced his retirement from international football last July, his move to Manchester United means things could change.
The 30-year-old joined the Red Devils from Shanghai Shenhua on a loan deal till the end of the season. Following the move, Rohr revealed he would hold talks with Ighalo over a potential return to the National team.
While it is not known if Ighalo will accept the proposition, Rohr knows how big it is to have a Manchester United player in the National team ranks.
Should Ighalo help solve United’s attacking struggles, then he will be under more pressure to change his decision to retire from international football.
Oghenekaro Etebo: Etebo used to be one of Rohr’s trusted servants, but injury and lack of minutes have seen him out of the team.
The 24-year-old battled injuries at Stoke, but he found it difficult to regain his place in the team on return to action.
With his lack of minutes, Etebo sealed a loan move to Getafe where he’s enjoying his football again. The former Warri Wolves midfielder has made four appearances for the Azulones since he signed last month.
Although there have been new additions like Joe Aribo in the Squad, the Super Eagles have missed Etebo’s drive in the midfield, and that could see him back in the squad next month.
Cyriel Dessers: Unlike the other players, Dessers has never played for Nigeria before, but he is in contention to get an invite next month.
Born to a Nigerian mother and a Belgian Father, Dessers currently plays for Heracles Almelo in the Dutch top-flight. He joined Heraclieden from FC Utrecht having also featured for the likes of NAC Breda, KSC Lokeren and Oud-Heverlee Leuven.
The 25-year-old is eligible to play for both Belgium, but he declared his intentions to play for his mother’s country of birth.
Dessers is currently the joint topscorer in the Eredivisie with 14 goals, and that could give him the edge when Rohr names his Super Eagles squad next month.
With the likes Osimhen, Moses Simon, Emmanuel Dennis and Josh Maja all impressing for their clubs, Dessers addition means the Super Eagles have one of the best attacks in Africa.