Three-time African champions Nigeria are preparing to face Guinea-Bissau in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later in March, and fans of the Super Eagles are eager to see which players will make the 23-man roster for the crucial matches.
With several Nigerian players’ excellent recent performances in mind, here is a look at the players likely to make the cut.
The first-choice goalkeeper for the Super Eagles will most likely be Francis Uzoho. The AC Omonia shot-stopper has not been any impressive for the Super Eagles of late, but he has had more game time at his club than Watford’s Maduka Okoye.
Uzoho also boasts more international experience than Adebayo Adeleye. The 22-year-old Adeleye has excelled more in Israel this term, though, with the youngster keeping eight clean sheets in 19 league games.
Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo is doing great on loan at Sturm Graz, but this Guinea-Bissau clash could come too soon for the former England youth international.
Head coach Jose Peseiro could turn his attention to the local Nigerian scene, where a few glovesmen have impressed, including Enyimba’s Olorunleke Ojo. There is almost no chance for John Noble after his recent run-in with the NFF over his unpaid bonuses.
In the heart of the defence, the experienced William Troost-Ekong is a major doubt. Leon Balogun is still recovering from an injury, while Chidozie Awaziem is enduring a tough time on loan at Hajduk Split.
Coach Peseiro could launch a new centre-back pairing against the Djurtus from an increasing pool of Nigerian defenders in Europe. The experience of Kevin Akpoguma could be needed to support new star Bruno Onyemaechi, while Slavia Prague’s Igho Ogbu could earn a first-time call-up.
At right-back, Bright Osayi-Samuel is likely to get the nod over the recuperating Ola Aina, while Empoli’s Tyronne Ebuehi could come in as backup.
Zaidu Sanusi and Calvin Bassey are expected to be the options at left-back.
In midfield, the Super Eagles will be boosted by the return of Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo. Ndidi, who missed the last international window due to injury, is expected to anchor the midfield alongside Etebo, who has been in fine form for Aris.
Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi are also likely to make the squad, with Iwobi expected to provide creativity in attack.
Club Brugge’s Raphael Onyedika could also be in the squad.
Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman and Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze are two of Nigeria’s best wingers in Europe. Nantes’ Moses Simon will look to pick up his 54th international cap if he is fit enough to make this squad.
And after his sensational breakthrough season with Belgium’s Union Saint-Gilloise, including his brilliant brace in Germany on Thursday, it will not be surprising to see Victor Boniface get his first Super Eagles invitation.
The phenomenal Victor Osimhen is expected to lead the line for the Super Eagles. The Napoli striker has been in fine form for his club and is Nigeria’s top scorer in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers so far.
Osimhen will likely be paired up front with any of Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho or Nice’s Terem Moffi.
Cyriel Dessers netted a brace for Cremonese last weekend, but he may miss the cut together with Emmanuel Dennis and Paul Onuachu, who are both struggling at the moment.
However, Jose Peseiro’s focus on the NPFL could be of benefit to Enyimba’s Chukwuemeka Obioma, who is the top goalscorer in the domestic league with seven goals.
Overall, the Super Eagles are expected to field a strong squad for the upcoming matches against Guinea-Bissau.
With the likes of Ndidi and Etebo returning to the midfield and Osimhen and Iheanacho in fine form up front, the team will be confident of securing the necessary results to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria’s probable 23-man squad:
Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia)
Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem)
Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba)
Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce)
Zaidu Sanusi (Porto)
Calvin Bassey (Ajax)
Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista)
Kevin Akpoguma (Hoffenheim)
Igoh Ogbu (Slavia Prague)
Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli)
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Alex Iwobi (Everton)
Joe Aribo (Southampton)
Oghenekaro Etebo (Aris)
Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge)
Ademola Lookman (Atalanta)
Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
Moses Simon (Nice)
Victor Boniface (Union Saint-Gilloise)
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
Terem Moffi (OGC Nice)
Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City)
Chukwuemeka Obioma (Enyimba)
I think chubs akpom need to be called to the super eagles this time he is in good form
One player is missing from the list. He is Chuba Akpom. .The guy is the highest goal scorer in the English Championship . .I would love to watch that guy pairs with Victor in a two-man point attack.
What a squad! Except Ndidi and Etebo
Nice write up but Akpom still deserve a chance more than Dennis …the guy is on fire
Nice squad except you left out Gift Orban
Chukwuemake from Chelsea should be called
I like the guy style of playing