Super Eagles’ provisional AFCON squad throws up surprises

Super Eagles’ provisional AFCON squad throws up surprises
Credit: Icon Sport

The anticipation for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is reaching a fever pitch as the Super Eagles and national teams alike finalized their provisional squads.

While some familiar faces are expectedly part of the Super Eagles lineup, there are intriguing surprises and notable omissions that have captured the attention.

One of the most surprising inclusions in the provisional squad is Sporting Lagos' Christian Nwoke.

Another name that has caught the eye in the provisional squad is Olorunleke Ojo from Enyimba.

The goalkeeper's consistent performances have earned him a spot in the 55-man lineup.

In a surprising turn of events, in-form Doma United goalkeeper Osayi Kingdom has been left out of the provisional squad.

Kingdom's stellar record of 10 clean sheets in 12 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) games seemed to make him a strong contender.

However, the decision by coach Peseiro to snub him has left fans and pundits scratching their heads.

The omission of such a promising talent will undoubtedly spark debates and discussions.

Gift Orban, Gent superstar striker
Credit: Icon Sport

Gent striker Gift Orban's absence from the preliminary list has added an extra layer of intrigue to the Super Eagles' AFCON squad.

Reports suggest that the decision may be linked to lingering doubts over his nationality.

Such concerns have often played a role in the selection process, emphasizing the importance of clear and verifiable player documentation.

With the tournament just around the corner, the final Super Eagles squad announcement will be eagerly awaited, providing clarity on the coaching staff's strategy and the composition of the team that will represent Nigeria in Cote d'Ivoire.

Nigeria's AFCON 2023 squad: A cloak of secrecy surrounds Super Eagles' roster

Nigeria's Super Eagles players celebrating
Credit: Icon Sport

Teams participating in AFCON were mandated to submit their provisional squads by December 14, 2022, adhering to CAF's regulations that allow a maximum of 55 players on the initial list.

While most countries have promptly unveiled their squads, Nigeria has chosen to keep their cards close to the chest, maintaining an air of secrecy surrounding the Super Eagles' roster.

In a departure from the norm, CAF has increased the size of the final squads from 23 players to 27 for the 2023 AFCON.

This alteration provides teams with greater flexibility and depth, allowing for more options during the tournament.

Despite the lack of an official announcement, rumors have been circulating about potential inclusions in the Nigerian squad.

Speculations suggest that new faces such as Montpellier forward Jerome Akor and Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali have secured spots in the provisional squad.

The alleged additions of Antwerp midfielder Alhassan Yusuf, Ajax's Chuba Akpom, and a player from Tunisian powerhouse Esperance, Onuche Ogbelu, have further fueled the curiosity surrounding the Super Eagles' lineup.

The deadline for the submission of the final squads is set for January 3, 2023, providing teams with a tight window to make any last-minute adjustments.

According to CAF regulations, only 23 players will be eligible for selection in each match during the tournament.

However, a player can only be replaced in the final squad in the event of a serious injury, and this replacement must be approved by the CAF Medical Committee with the submission of a valid medical certificate.

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Rababe Koussaimi, a 22-year-old football journalist, is deeply passionate about the world of sports. The Moroccan journalist channels her enthusiasm into writing and conducting extensive research, creating insightful and engaging content for GoalBallLive readers.