As the process to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations resumes, the Super Eagles of Nigeria are expected to square off against their West African neighbour, Guinea-Bissau.
Baciro Cande, the head coach of the African Wild Dogs, unveiled his 25-man squad prior to the two-game AFCON 2023 qualifying series against Nigeria.
In preparation for the match at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro has also made the much-awaited 23-man team list public.
Yet the roster, which contains several players who shouldn’t have been called up, only adds to the disappointment before the match.
Soccernet.ng will highlight a list of players who were unexpectedly selected for the Portuguese squad despite not deserving to be there.
The selection of the Flying Eagles’ defender in Peseiro’s 23-man list has been questioned, given the number of Nigerian players excelling both domestically and internationally.
The Nigerian defender accepted a position at right-back since he was unable to replace the centre defence pairing of Benjamin Fredrick and Abel Ogwuche, who had developed a close bond while he was suspended. Augustine Njoku, the player who he took his place, was selected for the CAF team for the competition.
The Portuguese coach can still replace him with the aforementioned players, who will unquestionably keep the flame alive at the senior level.
The 2022–23 season has not seen the 29-year-old in his best form for West Brom. The British-Nigerian has only appeared in 13 of the Baggies’ 37 championship games owing to a ligament injury that has prevented him from playing in 9 of the Throstles’ games.
Since then, the former Arsenal player has lost his place in the starting lineup, and he hasn’t played a complete 90 minutes since August of last year against Cardiff City.
As William Troost-Ekong is still recovering from the knock he suffered in Verona, some issues remain over Semi Ajayi’s selection among the nation’s skill pool.
While playing for Rangers FC, Joe Aribo was in top form; but, since joining the struggling Southampton team, he has not been.
The Nigerian player, who was Nathan Jones’s backup for several games in October, lost favour with the team. In order to gauge his form, the attacking midfielder was also demoted to Southampton’s U-23 team, although this has not been a great criterion for starting a team for a second-bottom side.
Aribo, who was brought in to improve the Saints’ team, has not yet played in any of the past five matches despite working under new manager Ruben Selles.
It is ideal to call on those who truly merit the call after a standout performance rather than picking and choosing players who are struggling to the Nigerian national team roster for an AFCON qualifying.
In the last hours of the January transfer window, the Nigerian attacker left Belgian club KRC Genk to sign with Southampton.
Previous to it, he had been in good goal-scoring form, scoring 16 goals in the Jupiler Pro League and taking the top spot in the scoring charts.
Yet Paul’s chances of making Selles’ starting lineup have been slim after he failed to establish himself in his first four outings.
Chuba Akpom, who is currently tearing up the English league on the other end, or Victor Boniface, whose performance earned him the Europa League player of the week award ahead of some European stars, would have been the best candidates to fill his void with his six games without a goal in the Premier League.
Ahmed Musa has 106 caps for the Nigerian Super Eagles since 2010, therefore it is questionable that he will still be on the team given the number of up-and-coming players competing for spots.
In addition to this, it should be noted that the Super Eagles forward is not a regular starter for Sivasspor of the Süper Lig, where he has only appeared in 15 matches without scoring.
There are certain new talents that need to be taken into consideration if the former Venezuelan manager hopes to return the Super Eagles to winning ways and assist the team win matches and titles.