5 Alex Iwobi replacements for Super Eagles’ upcoming AFCON Qualifier

5 Alex Iwobi replacements for Super Eagles’ upcoming AFCON Qualifier
Credit: Icon Sport

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will play São Tomé and Príncipe in their last AFCON qualifying game of Group A which takes place on 4 September 2023.

The Nigeria team have 12 points while their closest challenger, Guinea Bissau, have 10 points, both teams have sealed qualification for next year's AFCON tournament.

Granted, Nigeria have booked their place in the January showpiece in Cote D'Ivoire, but will still aim for a win against a side they recorded the biggest win in international football, a 0-10 away victory in June last year.

With the next international window just around the corner, Alex Iwobi was seen dropping to the ground and clutching his leg during Everton's most recent Premier League match.

The medical team attended to him in what clearly looked like a hamstring injury that was later confirmed by his coach, Sean Dyche.

Alex Iwobi in action for Everton
Credit: Icon Sport

Iwobi is a key midfielder for both Everton and the Nigeria national team, and being out injured spells some level of discomfort around his club and the Eagles' camp.

The injury means he will miss Nigeria's game at the Godswill Akpabio international stadium in Uyo early next month, an absence which will not be particularly felt for Nigeria since qualification into the AFCON has been sealed.

Rather, his injury layoff will give room for other Super Eagles playmakers who have struggled to cement a starting berth in the national team to have a chance to prove their worth for Nigeria.

Here are 5 Nigerian midfielders who could replace Alex Iwobi in the next AFCON qualifier.

Frank Onyeka

Frank Onyeka in action for Brentford
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Frank Onyeka is a Nigerian midfielder who plays for Brentford in the Premier League. He has come off the bench twice this year for the Super Eagles, with his only start for 2023 coming in Nigeria's 0-1 away win at Guinea Bissau in March.

Iwobi's injury means that Onyeka could be in the Eagles starting lineup as Jose Peseiro's team look to have another high-scoring matchup against the visitors.

Joe Aribo

Although Joe Aribo started Nigeria's last game in the qualifiers against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, he often did not start every match for Nigeria.

With Iwobi's absence, the unsettled Southampton's midfielder could make just his second consecutive start in as many games for the Super Eagles this year.

Divine Nwachukwu

Divine Nwachukwu is an attacking midfielder who plays for Bendel Insurance in the Nigerian Premier League, he was born on 25 May, 2003.

He joined Bendel Insurance from Nigeria National League (NNL) side, Adoration FC in 2022. The midfielder in his debut campaign with Insurance dazzled in the middle of the park.

He played an important role in his club's remarkable 26-match unbeaten run across all competitions last season, a stretch that was halted by a 2-1 defeat to Rivers United at the Championship playoffs in June.

Divine Nwachukwu has been tipped as a player of immense potential and a shining star for the future who got first call-up to the Eagles' squad last June for the AFCON qualifying match against the Leone Stars, but was an unused substitute.

Now the time appears set for the youngster to get some minutes to prove himself to coach Peseiro in the Super Eagles team against São Tomé and Príncipe.

Gift Orban

Gift Orban in action for Gent
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Gift Orban is not mainly a midfielder but he can be called up as Iwobi's replacement.

The striker can double as a winger, and has been in scintillating form since his switch to Gent. The Nigeria International has scored 25 goals from 26 appearances since he joined the Jupiler Pro League side from Stabeak in January.

It is still a mystery why Gift Orban, despite his scoring form, is yet to get a call-up to the senior national team.

The next international window is another chance for the player who is likely on the move to join a Premier League club, with Tottenham being a potential destination.

Kelechi Nwakali

The young playmaker was in good form for SD Huesca and Ponferradina football club in the second division of the Spanish league before switching over to Portugal to play as a midfielder for Primeira Liga club Chaves, in 2023.

Kelechi Nwakali is a very creative player who could help the team to create more scoring chances in the absence of Iwobi.

Just like Alex Iwobi, Nwakali can play as an attacking midfielder and can also play from the wings.

The question is, will Peseiro include him in the next AFCON squad?

This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago

Joseph is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing engaging football contents. Based in Nigeria, Joseph is a die-hard Real Madrid fan with over 8 years experience in the sports betting space. He has covered football match previews, predictions, and news across leagues in Africa and Europe.