It’s been over nine months since Nigeria last played a game, and that was a 4-2 win over Lesotho in the second game of their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
They had open their qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win over the Benni Republic at Uyo four days earlier. The third and fourth round was scheduled initially for March, but it was shifted due to COVID-19.
The coronavirus outbreak caused major changes to the football calendar with Euro 2020, and Copa America delayed for a year, while AFCON 2021 has been postponed till 2022.
However, football has since returned-albeit behind closed doors. The domestic league season has been concluded while some associations have already started a new campaign.
International football returns in September with UEFA Nations League matches set to take place. The Super Eagles are not playing this window but will play two games against Cote D’Ivoire and Tunisia in October’s window.
Nigeria’s manager, Gernot Rohr, will hope to have his best legs for the two games, but that may be impossible as some clubs may be reluctant to release their players.
With the likelihood of some of Nigeria’s key stars missing out, it provides an opportunity for some players who haven’t had a call-up in a while to get one.
Soccernet.ng takes a look at some fringe players that could be in Rohr’s plans for the September games.
Simy has four caps for Nigeria and was part of the squad that went to the World Cup in 2018, which was coincidentally the last time he featured for the team.
The 28-year-old has found himself out of the team due to the quality in Super Eagles attack. However, he has played himself back into reckoning after a brilliant season saw him finish as the top scorer in the Serie B.
The lanky striker’s 20 goals helped Crotone secure a return to the Italian top-flight. His impressive season could see him back in the Super Eagles fold next month.