Nigeria name Musa, Ndidi, Osimhen, 25 others in 28-man final list for AFCON 2021

Musa

Head Coach Augustine Eguavoen has named his 28-final list of the Super Eagles of Nigeria for the 33rd AFCON taking place in Cameroon 9th January – 6th February 2022, with Captain Ahmed Musa, midfield enforcer Wilfred Ndidi and effervescent forward Victor Osimhen all making the cut for the big houseparty.

The three –time winners will confront seven-time and record winners Egypt, Sudan and debutants Guinea Bissau with venue in the northern town of Garoua, and a mouth-watering clash with the Pharaohs in the group opener on Tuesday, 11th January means the Eagles must hit the ground at blistering pace.

Former Nigeria captain Eguavoen, who coached the Super Eagles to third-place finish at the finals in Egypt 15 years ago, has selected four goalkeepers, nine defenders, five midfielders and 10 forwards to aim for Nigeria’s fourth diadem in Cameroon.

Goalkeepers Maduka Okoye and Francis Uzoho, defenders Kenneth Omeruo, Olaoluwa Aina and Abdullahi Shehu, midfielders Joseph Ayodele-Aribo and Chidera Ejuke and forwards Moses Simon, Odion Ighalo and Samuel Chukwueze are also on the AFCON roster.

There is a return to the group for former U17 World Cup –winning captain Kelechi Nwakali, forward Emmanuel Dennis and 2016 Olympics star Sadiq Umar.

All invited players, bar the UK-based crew, are expected to arrive in camp in the Nigeria’s federal capital, Abuja on 29th December, with the UK-based players expected to start arriving on Monday, 3rd January.

Reactions so far

As expected, the released list has sparked opinions from fans and pundits alike, with many making several claims and controversial points on some certain selections.

Four goalkeepers were selected, with the inclusion of NPFL star John Noble, who plys his trade with Enyimba. While there are exactly no arguments about the names involved, there is the question of whether it was indeed necessary to pick up to four goalkeepers.

In defence, the inclusion of Olisa Ndah and Abdullahi Shehu ahead of players like Calvin Bassey and Kevin Akpoguma has sparked much debate as well. It is all the more questionable given that Ndah is currently out injured at the moment.

The midfield department perhaps brought the most talking points, with only five names selected from the 28-man-squad. Kelechi Nwakali's inclusion brought about mixed reviews but there was an evident lack of creativity in the middle and a general sense of being under-staffed in that department.

In attack, a large number of 10 players were called up and the notable inclusions saw Ahmed Musa, Sadiq Umar and Taiwo Awoniyi get call-ups. However, many have questioned the exclusion of Cyriel Dessers and the likes of Ademola Lookman, especially when Odion Ighalo and Musa continue to make the AFCON squad. There is also a question of why there is a need to call-up as many attackers, when other departments can easily be stacked up with one or two more players.

With the exception of a couple new names on the block, it is looking more like the same old approach under Gernot Rohr but only time will tell if we can expect something different from the Super Eagles under Augustine Eguavoen.

 

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

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