The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations is just a couple of weeks away, and managers are starting to sort out their final squads. The squad list for the Super Eagles was released on Friday; and of course, this has elicited mixed reactions from fans across the country.
It's important to note that Jose Peseiro's initial 40-man squad did not contain any outfield players who currently play in the NPFL. On that note, let's take a look at some players who we believe deserved a spot in Nigeria's 2023 AFCON squad.
Undoubtedly one of the top performers in Nigeria's top flight in the last couple of years, Robert Christian Mizo makes a good case for himself. The Bayelsa United forward has been in sensational form this season, scoring 10 goals in the NPFL. It's even more impressive considering Bayelsa United are currently at the bottom of the league table, and half of the team's goals this season came from Mizo.
Granted, the Super Eagles‘ attack will be led by Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface. However, a player like Robert Mizo would be a valuable addition to Peseiro's squad. It's also worth mentioning that Mizo finished second on the NPFL goal charts last season with nine goals.
At the time of writing, Remo Stars are leading the NPFL standings. This is thanks, in part, to Sikiru Alimi. Remo Stars have scored a total of 23 goals in the league this season, and Alimi was directly involved in 12 of them.
The former Lobi Stars player has scored 11 times in the NPFL this campaign, which makes him the current top-scorer. He found the net three times in five matches in December.
Heading into the 2023 AFCON, the Super Eagles have no losses in seven games. However, they've actually won just one of their last four matches in all competitions, with the other three ending in stalemates.
The reason for this? Peseiro's men have not been able to keep the goals out. In their last four matches alone, they've conceded six times. As a matter of fact, the Super Eagles saw their defense breached in 10 of their last 12 matches.
That said, we've been particularly impressed by Kingdom Osayi's performances for Doma United this season. He has been the safest hands in the NPFL this season, keeping 12 clean sheets in 16 matches. What's interesting is, Osayi didn't even make the initial 40-man roster, which included three goalkeepers from the NPFL.
Nigeria Super Eagles 25man Squad for the 2023 AFCON have been released.
Captain Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Victor Boniface and Alex Iwobi all included.
— Olaiya Azeez Lawal (@OlaiyaAzeezLaw1) December 30, 2023
At 21, Sodiq Ismail is one of the best youngsters in the NPFL. He currently leads the league with eight assists; this is twice as many as any other player. This is quite an impressive feat for a defender. Considering the Super Eagles' defensive struggles, Ismail could've contributed both offensively and defensively.
Unlike the other players on this list, Terem Moffi made Peseiro's initial 40-man squad. The 24 year old has put up some solid numbers for Nice this season, registering six goals and two assists in Ligue 1. It doesn't really help that he had to compete with Osimhen and Boniface for a place in the Super Eagles' AFCON squad.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago