Gift Orban, Victor Boniface, and Chuba Akpom have been outstanding for their clubs, notching several goals which might also play a crucial role for the Super Eagles when they face Sierra Leone
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro provided detailed insight into his decision to exclude Gift Orban, Victor Boniface, and Chuba Akpom from the Nigerian national team squad set to face Sierra Leone, Soccernet.ng reports.
The Portuguese manager’s explanation shed light on financial constraints, his preference for familiar players, and his unwavering belief in the abilities of the sidelined talents.
The 63-year-old manager recently listed his roster to face Sierra Leone on the 18th of June for their match-day five encounters of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
But, the absence of Orban and Boniface, who were firing on all cylinders for their respective clubs, baffles many football fans who are puzzled by the decision.
The manager, speaking on his decision to reporters, highlighted his personal efforts to assess the players in their respective clubs.
“Orban and Boniface could come for the camp, even I went to visit them from my pocket. I was in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and England,” Peseiro shared.
While acknowledging the potential of Orban and Boniface, Peseiro revealed that limited resources compelled him to call up only nineteen foreign-based players for the crucial encounter against Sierra Leone.
“If I could invite more, of course, Orban, Boniface or others would have been called up,” he emphasized.
“I believe in them. They must still work well in their clubs. They have an opportunity to play for the national team because they are quality players,” Peseiro stated.
Despite their impressive performances, Peseiro faced the difficult task of selecting a squad that already had a strong understanding of his tactical approach.
“I cannot choose five strikers. Some players don’t spend anything, I spend for them,” he explained.
Addressing comparisons between Orban, Boniface, and established names like Taiwo Awoniyi and Victor Osimhen, the former Sporting CP boss clarified, “Musa is a winger, not a striker. You cannot compare Musa with Orban or Boniface.”
While the players might feel disappointed at not receiving the call-up, Peseiro assured them of their potential future involvement, emphasizing their impressive performances and the impact they had made.
“Boniface and Orban, the others, have time for sure because I believe in them, and for that, I visited them. They did a fantastic job,” he added.
The Super Eagles stars need at least a draw against Sierra Leone to guarantee their ticket to feature in the AFCON tournament slated to hold in Côte d’Ivoire.