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Super Eagles squad: Nigeria’s unanswered questions

1:33 am AEST 19/9/22
Peseiro Ighalo Aribo
Jose Peseiro’s latest squad has certainly raised some eyebrows ahead of the international break
  • Joe Aribo Southampton 2022-23

    Where is Joe Aribo?

    Did the NFF make a mistake in omitting Joe Aribo from the Nigeria squad to face Algeria during the international break?

    His omission is utterly baffling given the midfielder’s outstanding season last term when he was influential during Rangers’ run to the Europa League final.

    He’s followed that up with an encouraging start to life at Southampton after a big money move during the summer, not to mention that offseason wondergoal, and he should arguably be starting for Nigeria.

    It’s a baffling decision.

  • Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo of Al Hilal.

    The end of Ighalo?

    Considering the absences of Victor Osimhen and Umar Sadiq, there were some suggestions before the squad was announced that veteran Ighalo could have been handed a recall.

    He’s been in fine recent goalscoring form in Saudi Arabia, and some will be keen for Ighalo to play a role in this next Super Eagles cycle, as he had threatened to do at the last Africa Cup of Nations.

    Without him, Nigeria are stocked with attacking options, although there are few proven goal threats at international level.

    Given Peseiro has gone without Ighalo, does this definitively draw a line under the ex-Manchester United man’s international career?

  • Ahmed Musa of Fatih Karagumruk.

    What does Musa still have to offer?

    In contrast to Ighalo, who is at least banging in the goals at club level, Musa has enjoyed a disjointed start to the season in Turkey.

    He was released by Fatih Karagumruk after playing three games for them this season, and was promptly signed by fellow Super Lig side Sivasspor.

    So far, he’s failed to score or assist in 135 minutes in the top flight, and after an underwhelming season with Karagumruk last season, it’s hard to see what he still has to offer the national side.

    Certainly, picking Musa initially ahead of Emmanuel Dennis was a bizarre move by Peseiro.

  • Terem Moffi Lorient 2022-23

    Which of the strikers will get the nod?

    Osimhen and Sadiq both being misses from the squad represents a major opportunity for a swathe of pretenders to stake their claim for a starting berth as the Eagles’ leading man.

    Taiwo Awoniyi enjoyed a magnificent season in the Bundesliga last term, but has found things trickier at Nottingham Forest and may have to content himself with a bench role, while Cyriel Dessers is yet to net for new club Cremonese since leaving Genk.

    This could open the door for in-form Terem Moffi—six in his last eight for FC Lorient—to start against Algeria.

  • Maduka Okoye

    Do Nigeria have a goalkeeping crisis?

    Maduka Okoye’s inability to break into Watford’s first team is increasingly representing a problem for the Super Eagles.

    The Hornets goalkeeper is yet to feature in the league so far this season, and with just one cup appearance under his belt, he’ll be well short of match sharpness heading into the international break.

    It isn’t a much better situation for his deputy, Francis Uzoho, who’s managed just one league outing so far in Cyprus.

    With both of the two prominent keepers in the squad barely featuring for their clubs, Nigeria have a clear area of weakness between the sticks.

  • Alhassan Yusuf, Mbwana Samatta

    Why doesn’t Peseiro be bold?

    As well as the aforementioned Musa and the goalkeepers, there are several other players in the squad who have been given call-ups despite unimpressive starts to the season.

    The likes of William Troost-Ekong and Frank Onyeka, as well as injured duo Leon Balogun and Henry Onyekuru, have done precious little in recent months to justify an invite, yet these underachievers continue to be part of the fold.

    It’s a disappointment that Peseiro has again chosen to stick with the tried and tested, rather than use the opportunity to invite new blood.

    It’s disappointing that Raphael Onyedika is the only uncapped outfield player to have been given the opportunity, while the likes of Alhassan Yusuf of Royal Antwerp and Union St. Gilloise’s Victor Boniface continue to be overlooked.