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African All Stars

Ranking every member of Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad

6:36 AM GMT+4 14/02/2022
Moses Simon, Taiwo Awoniyi, Nigeria
Who can be proud of their Afcon showing heading into next month’s World Cup qualifiers?

  • Chidozie Awaziem

    #27 Chidozie Awaziem

    It wasn’t Covid in the end, apparently, but health concerns ultimately ruled Awaziem out of the Nations Cup.

  • Daniel Akpeyi of Nigeria

    #26 Daniel Akpeyi

    NCompletely overlooked by Augustine Eguavoen, with Francis Uzoho getting the nod to prosecute the final group game against Guinea-Bissau.

  • John Noble

    #25 John Noble

    Was never going to get some action ahead of the squad’s three other goalkeepers, but hopefully will have learned a lot from the time spent with the national side.

  • Olympiacos FC sign Henry Onyekuru from Nigeria.

    #24 Henry Onyekuru

    Wasted by Eguavoen, featuring for just five minutes against Guinea-Bissau.

  • Frank Onyeka of Brentford.

    #23 Frank Onyeka

    Wilfred Ndidi’s deputy was given just 14 minutes against Guinea-Bissau.

  • Olisa Ndah of Nigeria during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals.

    #22 Olisa Ndah

    A massive success story to have been handed his debut call-up for a major tournament, Ndah—like Onyeka—played for a quarter of an hour in the third group game.

  • Ahmed Musa

    #21 Ahmed Musa

    Managed less than half an hour of gametime across two substitute appearances, and the former captain’s place in the squad must surely be brought into question.

  • Nigeria, Tunisia, Alex Iwobi

    #20 Alex Iwobi

    Miserable tournament showing, complete with a red card—after only seven minutes—against Tunisia, the most notable contribution.

  • Semi Ajayi - Nigeria

    #19 Semi Ajayi

    Has drifted to the peripheries of the Nigeria setup nowadays, and was handed a start against Guinea-Bissau—in the heart of the defence—after being brought on against Egypt to close up shop.

  • Tyronne Ebuehi

    #18 Tyronne Ebuehi

    One of several players given a run-out against Guinea-Bissau, Ebuehi did little to suggest he deserves to climb above Ola Aina in the pecking order for the right-back berth.

  • Francis Uzoho

    #17 Francis Uzoho

    Made just one appearance—against Guinea-Bissau—with the Super Eagles’ progress already assured, but did maintain a clean sheet.

  • Shehu Abdullahi, Jamilu Collins

    #16 Jamilu Collins

    Featured just once—against Guinea-Bissau—as Eguavoen shuffled the back, but was outstanding down Nigeria’s left during this bout.

    Would have likely started had Gernor Rohr remained in post.

  • Maduka Okoye - Nigeria

    #15 Maduka Okoye

    Not a strong tournament showing by the new Nigeria No. 1.

    Kept a clean sheet against Egypt, but now needs to bounce back strongly after that gaffe against Tunisia in the Eagles’ knockout bout.

  • Peter Olayinka Skenderbeu 09172015

    #14 Peter Olayinka

    Given two cameos, including against Tunisia with Nigeria chasing the game, and created two goalscoring chances which were spurned by his teammates.

    Could have been the match-winning hero on another day.

  • Umar Sadiq, Nigeria - Super Eagles

    #13 Umar Sadiq

    Scored against Guinea-Bissau but was criticised for missing too many chances—including a potential equaliser in the defeat by Tunisia.

    He will find it hard to retain his place in the squad when some of the Eagles’ big guns return.

  • Wilfred Ndidi, Chidera Ejuke, Nigeria

    #12 Chidera Ejuke

    Impressed with a lively showing over an hour against Guinea-Bissau, having previously been given a brief run-out against Egypt.

    The arrival of Ademola Lookman threatens to push him down the pecking order with the Eagles.

  • Kenneth Omeruo

    #11 Kenneth Omeruo

    Saw a lot of the ball, but also looked rattled too often against both Sudan and Tunisia having initially started the tournament strongly.

    Made a fine block against the Carthage Eagles, but was also partly culpable for Tunisia’s winner.

  • Zaidu Sanusi - Nigeria vs Egypt's Mohamed Salah

    #10 Zaidu Sanusi

    Enjoying a renaissance of sorts within the international arena, Sanusi was cut from the squad by Rohr, but returned to play a key role under Eguavoen.

    There was glimpses of the player who—on his day—is among Africa’s best left-backs.

  • William Troost-Ekong

    #9 William Troost-Ekong

    Helped Nigeria keep two clean sheets, and also found the net against Guinea-Bissau as the Eagles maintained a 100-percent record in the group stage.

    Generally fared well without defensive partner Leon Balogun.

  • Kelechi Nwakali - Nigeria

    #8 Kelechi Nwakali

    A timely return to the international arena, Nwakali made three appearances for Nigeria and ended the tournament as the fourth most accurate passer in the entire Nations Cup.

  • Mainz's Taiwo Awoniyi

    #7 Taiwo Awoniyi

    Finally made it to a senior international tournament with Nigeria, and certainly appeared keen to bring his Bundesliga scoring form to the international arena.

    Only six players averaged more shots per game than Awoniyi, who also bagged in the 3-1 victory over Sudan.

  • Samuel Chukwueze, Youssef Msakni - Nigeria vs Tunisia

    #6 Samuel Chukwueze

    Another lively tournament showing by the wideman, who netted in the victory over Sudan, but was ineffective as Tunisia eliminated the West African giants.

  • Kelechi Iheanacho, Super Eagles - Nigeria

    #5 Kelechi Iheanacho

    Seniorman netted a thumping winner after 30 seconds against Egypt to set the tone for the Eagles’ campaign, but that was as good as it got for the striker.

    He also set up Umar Sadiq for Nigeria’s opener against Guinea-Bissau, but was hauled off after less than an hour in the defeat by Tunisia.

  • Wilfred Ndidi - Nigeria

    #4 Wilfred Ndidi

    Monstrous in the midfield as usual, only one other player—Oumar Camara of Mauritania—averaged more tackles per game than the Leicester City man.

  • Ola Aina Nigeria

    #3 Ola Aina

    Of course, Aina was guilty of a significant error—or two—in the build-up to Tunisia’s goal in the Round of 16 tie, but beyond that, he was magnificent down Nigeria’s right, pushing forward and giving the Super Eagles an extra dimension out wide.

    The joint-third most consistent dribbler in the whole competition.

  • Joe Aribo - Nigeria

    #2 Joe Aribo

    One of several players who delivered some of his best international displays for the country during the Nations Cup, Aribo set up Iheanacho for Nigeria’s opener against Egypt, and also excelled against Sudan.

  • CAN 2022 Nigeria Moses Simon

    #1 Moses Simon

    One of the revelations of the tournament, Simon averaged more dribbles per match than any other player, and weighed in with a goal and an assist.

    Where was this Simon during Rohr’s tenure?