AFCON Qualifiers 2023: Players Who Missed out on the Super Eagles Squad

AFCON Qualifiers 2023: Players Who Missed out on the Super Eagles Squad
Credit: Iconsport

The Nigeria national football team camp for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifiers 2023 fixtures tie against Sierra Leone is open and the invited players have started to troop in. The team will converge in Nigeria before travelling to Liberia where the match will take place at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia.

Four of the 23-man squad list are home-based players who many in the Nigeria football media agree are the best possible picks from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). Just like a few abroad-based players, there are a few from the league who are due a call-up. See them below.

Kayode Bankole

The 20-year-old Kayode Bankole has been one of the best goalkeepers in the NPFL for the past two seasons. The Remo Stars goalkeeper kept 11 clean sheets in 22 appearances in the NPFL and was instrumental in Remo Stars’ ascent to second place in the Super 6 tournament which ended on Sunday.

They displaced Rivers United on goal difference to clinch the second CAF Champions League ticket with Enyimba FC, the eventual winners of the Super 6 tournament and the champions of the NPFL 2022/23 season. Goalball Live gathers that Bankole is one of the players who foreign scouts have their eye on and he could soon follow Ebenezer Akinsanmiro to Europe.

Chukwuemeka Obioma

Chukwuemeka Obioma ended the NPFL season as the top striker in the league, receiving his golden boot award after Enyimba were confirmed as champions of the league. The 24-year-old striker scored 16 goals in the league from 19 total appearances in the league to claim the top scorer award. His nearest competitor finished with nine goals.

Many believed he deserved a call-up but it will be a tall task to displace the established Super Eagles strikers like Victor Osimhen, who is one of the favourites for the AFCON 2023 Golden Boot.

Chuba Akpom

Chuba Akpom has waited for a Nigeria national football team call-up since 2019 after initial failures by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to recruit him. He finished as the EFL Championship top scorer and player of the year but narrowly missed out on Premier League promotion thanks to Middlesbrough’s outing in the EFL playoffs.

 

Unlike Ademola Lookman, however, he has been unlucky since switching his allegiance and even in the best form of his career, he is still being ignored. Former Super Eagles captain John Obi Mikel has previously called for his inclusion in the team. His call-up could have eased the creativity issue in the middle of the park but Nigerians will continue to wait for his debut with the national team.

Gift Orban

Gift Orban is the biggest absence on this list. He has been due for a call-up for the last three international games.

His position is one of the most fiercely contested in the Super Eagles but there are a few players who he could easily have replaced in the side that will face Sierra Leone. He is eligible to represent Togo so the ball is in the NFF’s court before Nigeria’s West African neighbours can convince him.

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

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