Super Eagles friendlies: New faces, no coach

Super Eagles friendlies: New faces, no coach
Photo by Icon Sport

Following the cancellation of the friendly game between the Super Eagles and the Albiceleste of Argentina, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has been shopping for matches to keep the team busy this period.

The NFF on Saturday announced new friendly matches for the Super Eagles during the international break this month.

The Black Stars of Ghana and the Eagles of Mali are on the cards to take on the Super Eagles on March 22 and 26.

Following the announcement of the friendlies, the NFF also released a list of players invited for the games. In the 26-man list, there are a few new faces.

New faces invited to the Super Eagles

Gabriel Osho gets first Super Eagles invite
Photo by Icon Sport

The invitees for the Super Eagles friendlies with Ghana and Mali include the usual suspects.

Of the 26-man team, 18 were at AFCON 2023, where Nigeria were losing finalists to the hosts Ivory Coast.

Some players returning to the squad include Wilfred Ndidi, who missed AFCON 2023 due to an injury.

Taiwo Awoniyi, who also failed to make the AFCON cut due to an injury, makes his return to the Super Eagles with Umar Sadiq.

Two players who made it to the squad for these friendlies are Luton FC defender Gabriel Osho and Benjamin Tianimu.

Tianimu is another victory for the NPFL. Before AFCON 2023, there was a clamour for him to be part of the Super Eagles for the tournament, but the calls were unheeded.

The former Bendel Insurance defender joined Tanzanian side Ihefu SC a few weeks ago.

It is a massive advertisement for the NPFL and will incentivise the players from the ever-improving league that they could also make it.

Luton FC defender Gabriel Osho has been a solid rock for the Premier League club and should give the other defenders a run for their money.

In the absence of William Troost-Ekong, he should make his debut for the Super Eagles in one of the games.

Other players returning to the Super Eagles include Nathan Tella, Tyronne Ebuehi, Cyril Dessers and Wilfred Ndidi.

Who will coach the Super Eagles?

Benjamin Tianimu finally gets a Super Eagles call up
Credit @TheRealChibis X

Without a coach, it begs the question, who selected the players to be invited? More questions than answers.

With the game against the Black Stars on March 22, the NFF have less than two weeks to appoint a coach for the Super Eagles.

At the expiration of his contract, Jose Peseiro quit the Super Eagles, leaving a vacuum which the federation is yet to fill.

Rumours of Eguavoen filling the role were quickly debunked by the NFF, and they have consequently called for applications for the job.

Several names have come up, with Emmanuel Amunike confirming that he has thrown his hat in the ring for the job.

Other coaches who might have a shot at the Super Eagles' top job include Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Daniel Ogunmodede and Fidelis Ilechukwu.

The NFF need to move quickly if they are interested in growth for the Super Eagles.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

Goalkeepers:
Stanley Nwabali (Chippa United, South Africa); Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC)

Defenders:
Gabriel Osho (Luton FC, England); Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista FC, Portugal); Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce FC, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Empoli FC, Italy); Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC, Portugal); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (Cardiff City, Wales); Benjamin Tianimu (Ihefu SC, Tanzania) – 10

Midfielders:
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge, Belgium); Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England); Alex Iwobi (Fulham FC, England)

Forwards:
Nathan Tella (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Ademola Lookman (Atalanta FC, Italy); Fisayo Dele-Bashiru (Hatayspor, Turkey); Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest, England); Cyriel Dessers (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland)

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.