In the upcoming clash between Nigeria and Sierra Leone for matchday five of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, the Super Eagles will aim to secure a victory that will guarantee their qualification for the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast.
Coach Jose Peseiro will also be keen to lead the Eagles to their third away win in the group.
To achieve this, Peseiro will rely on a carefully selected group of Nigerian stars.
Here is Soccernet.ng‘s detailed prediction of the 23-man squad that he is expected to call upon for this crucial encounter.
Adebayo Adeleye, Hapoel Jerusalem
With Chijioke Aniagboso absent due to his commitment to the Flying Eagles in Argentina, Adeleye emerges as a suitable replacement. The 23-year-old goalkeeper from Hapoel Jerusalem possesses the skills and potential to fill this role admirably.
Victor Sochima, Rivers United
Having received a call-up for the previous international fixtures, Rivers United’s Sochima will likely return to the national team fold. His previous experience and commendable performance make him a valuable addition to the squad.
Francis Uzoho, Omonia Nicosia
As Nigeria’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper, Uzoho, at 24, continues to showcase his exceptional skills and remains an integral part of the team’s defensive setup. The absence of quality alternatives, though, makes his inclusion an obvious choice for Peseiro.
Semi Ajayi, West Brom
Despite a somewhat challenging season at West Brom, where he had limited appearances, 29-year-old Ajayi remains one of Nigeria’s finest defenders. Peseiro recognizes his abilities and will count on him to strengthen the defensive line.
William Troost-Ekong, Salernitana
Troost-Ekong missed out on the previous fixtures against Guinea-Bissau but has since regained his form, exemplified by his decisive goal against Udinese for Salernitana in Serie A. This impressive display makes him a strong contender for a place in the squad.
Calvin Bassey, Ajax
Although Bassey encountered some difficulties during the past year at Ajax, including a lack of playing time, he remains a trusted left-back for the national team. Additionally, Peseiro views him as a reliable backup option for the center-back position.
Kenneth Omeruo, Leganes
As one of the few remaining members of the 2013 AFCON-winning Super Eagles squad, Omeruo’s experience and unwavering commitment to the team cannot be underestimated. At 29 years old, he continues to provide invaluable contributions to Nigeria’s pursuit of a fourth continental title.
Bright Osayi-Samuel, Fenerbahce
Osayi-Samuel, one of Nigeria’s standout players in the Turkish Super Lig, has proven himself an excellent right-back. His consistent performances since his international debut have earned him the distinction of being Nigeria’s number-one choice in that position.
Zaidu Sanusi, Porto
Sanusi’s recent recovery from injury allowed him to make a few appearances for Porto, reinforcing his position as a reliable backup option for Calvin Bassey. Peseiro values his versatility and sees him as a valuable national team member.
Kelvin Akpoguma, Hoffenheim
Although not yet a key player for the Super Eagles, the 28-year-old Akpoguma offers Peseiro an alternative defensive option. His role in helping Hoffenheim avoid relegation in the Bundesliga demonstrates his capabilities and potential contribution to the team.
Joe Aribo, Southampton
Despite his struggles at relegated Southampton, Aribo’s performances for the Super Eagles have consistently displayed his prowess on the field. Peseiro acknowledges his unique qualities and will rely on him to strengthen the midfield.
Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City
Ndidi’s performances may have been overshadowed by Leicester City’s disappointing season, but his talent and skill as a midfielder are undeniable. In the presence of very few quality replacements, Peseiro will likely call him for this particular fixture.
Frank Onyeka, Brentford
Onyeka’s limited starts for Brentford in the Premier League have not diminished his class and ability. The 25-year-old showcased his skills in Brentford’s triumph over Manchester City, highlighting his ability to thrive in big games. Peseiro seeks such classy players to bolster the midfield.
Alex Iwobi, Everton
Iwobi’s contributions to Everton’s successful fight against relegation, including two goals and eight assists, demonstrate his significance to the team. Recognized as the Players’ Player of the Season, the 27-year-old’s impact makes his inclusion in the Super Eagles squad a natural choice.
Raphael Onyedika, Club Brugge
Another promising midfielder who deserves consideration is Club Brugge Raphael Onyedika. The young talent has demonstrated a strong presence in midfield, showcasing excellent tackling ability, interception skills, precise passing, and an astute understanding of the game. With his profile steadily growing, Onyedika represents a promising asset for the Super Eagles midfield.
Ademola Lookman, Atalanta
Lookman’s remarkable debut season at Atalanta, which saw him score 13 Serie A goals, defines his attacking threat. Although injury and coach preferences limited his recent appearances, his offensive prowess remains undeniable, suggesting Peseiro would include him in the squad.
Samuel Chukwueze, Villarreal
Chukwueze has emerged as one of Villarreal’s top performers, boasting an impressive tally of 13 goals and 11 assists across all competitions. As one of Nigeria’s brightest talents, the flying winger’s inclusion in the Super Eagles squad is virtually assured.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City
Iheanacho’s significant contributions to Leicester City, particularly with crucial goals that nearly salvaged their season, have not gone unnoticed. Named Leicester’s Player of the Season, the talented forward will aim to channel his positive momentum into the Super Eagles camp.
Terem Moffi, OGC Nice
With an exceptional season that witnessed Moffi scoring 17 goals in Ligue 1, surpassing Victor Ikpeba’s record, the young striker has consistently delivered for Nigeria. His striking partnership with Victor Osimhen highlights his effectiveness, making him a key asset for Peseiro.
Ahmed Musa, Sivasspor
As the Super Eagles captain, Musa’s presence in the squad continues to be valued by Peseiro. Despite a less-than-ideal season with Sivasspor, the 30-year-old’s experience and extensive international record make his inclusion understandable.
Gift Orban, KAA Gent
Orban’s impressive goal-scoring record of 20 goals in all competitions within a short period at Gent highlights his proficiency as a finisher. Such performances may earn him his first call-up to the Super Eagles squad as he emerges as one of Nigeria’s finest prospects.
Victor Boniface, Union Saint-Gilloise
Boniface’s notable performances in European competitions and the Belgian league have garnered attention. His contributions have played a significant role in keeping Union Saint-Gilloise in contention for the league title. Peseiro may be inclined to reward his impressive displays by granting him his first call-up to the Super Eagles squad.
Moses Simon, Nantes
Although Simon faced challenges at Nantes, including the team’s battle against relegation, his veteran experience and previous contributions to the national team cannot be overlooked. While he may not be in top form presently, his presence brings valuable experience to the Super Eagles.
Victor Osimhen, Napoli
Osimhen’s exceptional form and goal-scoring prowess make him an undisputed choice to lead the line for the Super Eagles against Sierra Leone. He has not only emerged as the top scorer for Nigeria in the AFCON qualifiers but has also made a significant impact at Napoli in Serie A.
With an impressive tally of 25 goals, Osimhen played a pivotal role in guiding Napoli to their first Scudetto title in 33 years. His remarkable achievements were recognized as he was recently named the Best Striker in the Italian top flight. With Osimhen in peak form, Sierra Leone can expect to face the full force of this 24-year-old prodigy.