The head coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, recently unveiled his 23-man squad for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sierra Leone.
While the roster includes notable names like Victor Osimhen and William Troost-Ekong, the exclusion of Gift Orban and Victor Boniface has raised eyebrows and sparked discussions among football enthusiasts.
Many football fans have begun to wonder why the former Sporting CP manager left out two players who had been in exceptional form and creating waves in their respective divisions.
The KAA Gent forward, with an impressive tally of 20 goals in just 27 appearances, has been a hot sensation in recent times. His scoring prowess and ability to find the back of the net consistently have made him a force to be reckoned with.
Many fans and pundits expected him to earn a spot in the Super Eagles’ lineup when they match to face Sierra Leone on the 18th of June, considering his exceptional performances.
His exclusion from the squad, however, has left supporters puzzled and curious about the rationale behind Peseiro’s decision.
Similarly, Boniface, who emerged as the top scorer in the Europa League for the 2022-23 season with 6 goals, seemed destined for a call-up to the national team.
His goal-scoring exploits on the continental stage showcased his talent and potential to contribute significantly to the Super Eagles’ attacking prowess. However, to the surprise of many, the Royale Union Saint Gilloise attacker was left out of Peseiro’s squad.
While Peseiro’s squad selection is ultimately his prerogative as the head coach, it is essential to consider the factors that might have influenced his decision. One possible explanation could be the intense competition within the Super Eagles’ ranks.
Nigeria has a wealth of talented players at all positions, making the coach’s choice process difficult. Based on tactical considerations or particular qualities that he thought were required for the upcoming match against Sierra Leone, Peseiro may have preferred other options.
The squad’s need for harmony and balance could also have been a contributing factor. As a seasoned coach, the Portuguese boss is aware of the value of team chemistry and dynamics.
Sometimes, incorporating new players into an established team can disrupt the existing harmony. But the 63-year-old gaffer might have decided to maintain a core group of players who have been working together and have developed a good understanding on the field.
It is also worth noting that Peseiro’s decision might not be a reflection of Orban and Boniface’s abilities or potential.
National team selections often involve tough choices, and players who miss out on one occasion may still have future opportunities to prove their worth and earn a place in the squad.