Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr named his squad for Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier doubleheader clash against Sierra Leone last Wednesday.
The Super Eagles host the Leone Stars on March 27 before travelling to Freetown five days later for the return leg. Twenty Four players have been invited for the two encounters and Soccernet takes a look at Gernot Rohr’s latest squad announcement.
Dessers Finally Gets His Chance: The Heracles Almelo striker has always stated his intentions to play for Nigeria despite being born in Belgium.
Dessers knows it will be hard for him to break into Belgium squad given the Red Devils array of talents. Nevertheless, Belgium’s loss is Nigeria’s gain.
The 25-year-old is currently the top scorer in the Dutch top-flight with 15 goals from 26 games. He has scored 18 times in all competitions, and that shows Nigeria is getting a proper goalscorer.
Dessers is a quality addition to an already top-quality Super Eagles strikeforce.
Returns For Iheanacho, Balogun and Etebo: The trio last time in a Super Eagles squad was the international friendly match against Ukraine. Only Etebo featured in that clash with Iheanacho and Balogun watching from the bench.
However, since that encounter, they have been absent from the Super Eagles team due to lack of minutes at their respective clubs.
But following an upturn in form, and change of clubs, they find themselves back in the national team fold. Iheanacho’s first league appearance for Leicester only came at the start of December, but since then his form has improved, and he is now one Foxes best players.
Balogun joined Brighton and Hove Albion from Mainz in 2018, but he made just 12 appearances for them. This campaign, his appearances came in cup situations.
With him struggling at the Amex Stadium, the 31-year-old sealed a loan move to Championship side, Wigan Athletic last January.
Since the move, he has featured six times for Paul Cook’s men, and that earned him a recall into Gernot Rohr’s squad.
Etebo also struggled for minutes at Stoke City although injuries didn’t help his case either. But he appears to be enjoying his football again after sealing a six-month loan deal to Getafe.
But despite their recall, it’s highly unlikely they’ll get to feature given how the team has fared in their absence.
Kingsley Ehizibue Adds To The Growing List Foreign Imports: The Cologne centre back along with Dessers join the growing list of players with dual nationalities playing for the Super Eagles.
Born in Germany, grew up in the Netherlands, Ehizibue is eligible to play for the Oranje, but he decided to play for his parents country of birth.
Like Dessers, he did not play any competitive match for Netherlands age-grade teams which means he did not need FIFA approval to play for the Super Eagles.
He joins the likes of Joe Aribo, Alex Iwobi, William Troost Ekong and Leon Balogun who also have dual nationalities, but decided to play for Nigeria.
With the likes of Ademola Lookman, Chuba Akpom also set to commit their international futures to the Super Eagles, Ehizibue won’t be the last player with a dual nationality to play for Nigeria.
The 24-year-old plays as a right-back, and he could lock down that spot in the national team given Nigeria’s options in that role.
Rohr Defies NPFL Advocates: He has been heavily criticised for his treatment of local league players, but Rohr showed once again that he wouldn’t bow to pressure.
The German tactician invited just one NPFL player in his latest squad, and that’s regular invitee, Ikechukwu Ezenwa. With the number of talents on board, it’ll be hard to see more local league players in the national team set up.
Well Stocked Attack: The latest Super Eagles list shows that the team have one of the best attacks in Africa. The likes of Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze are attracting interests from Europe’s topsides.
Osimhen profile is on a rapid rise following his performance for Lille in what is his debut season in the French Ligue 1.
He’s not the only Nigerian setting Europe on fire, Kelechi Iheanacho also appears to be back in his groove, while Cyriel Dessers is currently the hottest striker in the Eredivisie.
To put into context on how the Super Eagles are well blessed in the attack, the injured Emmanuel Dennis and Josh Maja were not invited despite their excellent performances for Club Brugge and Bordeaux this season.
Good times for the Super Eagles.