Waiting in the wings: 12 players knocking on the Super Eagles doors
By Otite Dafe
Much has been said about the Super Eagles players called up on Monday for the October matches against Ivory Coast and Tunisia, but whom are those that missed out?
For a variety of reasons, from inability to join the squad owing to injury, unfinished paperwork or just not quite ready, I’ve looked at 4 goalkeepers, 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 4 attackers that could be in the mix sometime next year.
Who said the Nigeria Super Eagles job was an easy one???
Francis Uzoho (Apoel Nicosia Cyprus): Super Eagle number one. Fighting back to fitness after a horrific knee injury, surely he will return to grab back HIS jersey?
Sebastian Osigwe (Luzerne Swiss Premier league): The most consistent goalkeeper over the past 3 years, steadily rising and started the season well. Former Under 20 goalkeeper for Nigeria 2013.
Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem):
Pushed for promotion last year to the Israeli premier league but failed at the final stages. An ever present for the side and Under 17 2017 goalkeeper for Nigeria.
Adamu Abubakar (Plateau United NPFL) Recently moved from Wikki Tourists where he did not see much action. Nigeria U23 2019 goalkeeper who did very well in the Olympic qualifiers.
Kingsley Ehizibue (Rightback Koln Bundesliga): Called up earlier this year, but Corona stopped football. Unable to join the squad this October owing to admin issue but should be back
Junior Pius (Centreback Royal Antwerp): The goalscoring Mr Clean sheet. Back to his best after a year out with injury, should be banging down the door next year
Kevin Akpoguma (Centreback Hoffenheim):
Famously captained Germany to defeat Nigeria at under 20 level, has switched allegiance, but not in time for this call up. Should come on board next year
Jordan Torunarigha (Centre back Herta Berlin): His dad played for the Super Eagles, he’s a long term target. Will make a useful addition to the Super Eagles back line.
Joe Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland): We know him, we know what he can do, get well soon Joe, we miss you
Ovie Ejaria (Reading, England):
An exciting midfielder, goal-scoring can play a variety of positions, hard not to make comparisons, but Joe, watch your back Ovie is ready
Kelechi Nwakali (Huesca, Spain): It’s been forever, its getting closer. Kelechi has shown promise, all he needs now is time with his club in La Liga and its a sure banker. The nation is willing the former Under 17 world cup winning captain of 2015 on.
Obinna Nwobodo (Goztepe, Turkey): A wild card, but the former Nigeria Under 20 has been on the backburner for too long. Time to grab the staring place with club, time to knock on the door.
Dennis Bonaventure (Club Brugge, Belgium): Starboy, much courted by clubs around Europe, a player for the big occasion, however, waiting for him to hit the big time, then he’ll gatecrash the party.
Tolu Arokodare (Koln, Germany): The Under-17 2017 centre forward is making all the right moves. Once he hits his stride in Germany, the strikers need to watch out. Come to think of it, not many of our strikers score headers, he brings something new to the party
Terem Moffi (Lorient, France):
January this year he was playing in Lithuania, he’s now in France via Belgium. The Under 17 2015 striker, is moving fast, much like his 2017 counter part Tolu. There is going to be competition up front.
Taiwo Awoniyi (Center forward Union Berlin, Germany): Time for Taiwo, if he does well this season, if he hits the road running then why not. First, the small matter or retiring his Nigerian compatriot, I hate to say it, but grab the place in the club, enter the reckoning for country.
2021 is going to be a mad year, potentials all over the park. I don’t envy Gernot Rohr.