The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be competing at the AFCON 2024 finals in Cote d’Ivoire in search of their fourth continental crown.
This is a competition they last won in 2013. A decade later, the Nigeria fans around the world are clamouring for another continental showpiece.
That thought is also not far from that of the Nigeria Football Federation – the nation’s football governing body – who have gone ahead to launch a campaign tagged “Let’s do it again” ahead of the continental showpiece.
However, there are still huge doubts over the squad and the abilities of head coach Jose Peseiro to lead the side to glory.
Napoli forward and Super Eagles star Victor Osimhen is expected to lead the line, barring any injuries, but his current form since returning from his recent hamstring problem has left much to be desired.
Because of the above, this article is centred around players who could be handed a chance by Peseiro if the poor form persists into the AFCON.
Victor Osimhen’s struggles: A worry for Jose Peseriro at Afcon 2024?
Osimhen got injured while on international duty with Nigeria during the 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia.
That injury saw him miss the subsequent friendly game against Mozambique and the opening World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe last month. At Napoli, the striker missed four Serie A games and two UEFA Champions League games.
Since his return, Osimhen has featured in four games and he is yet to find the back of the net after 251 minutes.
Although he made an assist against Atalanta in the league, his overall play was not that impressive. He completed just three passes in 27 minutes, 10 touches, and won just two of his five duels.
In the Champions League against Real Madrid, where he only featured for 45 minutes, Osimhen had no goal involvement, no shot (on or off target), and just 13 touches of the ball.
In Napoli’s latest defeat on Friday in Turin to Juventus, Osimhen played the entire duration of the match and was disappointing yet again.
No shots, lost the possession 12 times ( most in the match), committed three fouls, and was booked late on.
It is quite obvious that he is struggling at the moment with the AFCON just a month away.
Although Osimhen has scored 20 goals in 27 Super Eagles appearances so far, Peseiro needs to prepare his alternatives so that the forward’s absence will not be felt like that of the last AFCON when he was ruled out due to injury and COVID-19.
In terms of the alternatives, Victor Boniface, Akor Adams, and Sadiq Umar are the next in line to carry the Super Eagles' scoring responsibilities.
Victor Boniface continues to shine in Germany
Boniface, who recently went on a run of games without a goal, has returned to scoring after his latest goals against Hacken in the UCL and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
20 Goal Involvements.
4 Rookie of the Month Awards.
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) December 9, 2023
As a reward for his overall efforts in November, the Super Eagles striker was named Rookie Player of the Month for the fourth consecutive time.
Boniface has 14 goals and six assists in 20 appearances across all competitions.
Sadiq Umar – back scoring at the right time
Umar, who currently plays for Real Sociedad, led the line in the absence of Osimhen at the last AFCON in Cameroon, but injury kept him out for the majority of last season.
The lanky forward recovered and has started playing a part in La Real’s season.
Sadiq scored a stunner against Sevilla in La Liga before repeating the trick against Osasuna in the next game.
In total, he has three goal involvements from 17 appearances but his experience of having featured at the AFCON could be pivotal to the Super Eagles’ title aspirations.
Akor Adams trying to gatecrash Jose Peseiro’s squad
Adams is one player who is yet to make his debut for the Super Eagles but his recent performances for French side Montpellier.
Adams moved to France in the summer and while in Norway, he scored 17 goals in 17 games for Lillestrøm in 2023.
The 23-year-old has scored seven Ligue 1 goals in 15 appearances, only PSG forward Kylian Mbappe has scored more goals than the Former flying Eagles star in the top division.
He has an outside chance of making Peseiro’s squad to AFCON 2024 but if he does, he can be another viable option.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago