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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

In form forwards headline Nigeria squad for AFCON qualifying clashes against Guinea-Bissau

Victor Osimhen returns to the Nigeria national team squad to lead the Super Eagles in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Guinea-Bissau later this month. Osimhen is one member of a lethal forward group for the current leaders in Group A who are perfect through two matches so far ahead of their clashes against the Djurtus who are in second place with four points. The teams will clash in Abuja on March 24 before heading to Bissau for the return match three days later.

Napoli star Osimhen is joined by another in-form forward in Italy’s top tier, Ademola Lookman, who continues to shine at Atalanta. Southampton’s Paul Onuachu and OGC Nice’s Terem Moffi are other options for head coach José Peseiro who is spoiled for options with speedsters Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze also called into the squad. Kelechi Iheanacho is yet another candidate for minutes in the loaded Nigerian attack.

Two members of the Nigeria under-20 national team squad who finished in third place at the recently completed 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations were rewarded with calls to the senior team. Goalkeeper Kingsley Aniagboso and defender Daniel Bameyi are unlikely to feature against Guinea-Bissau but will get their first experience with the Super Eagles and coach Peseiro. Cyprus-based Francis Uzoho appears likely to start against the Djurtus with Rivers United shot stopper Victor Sochima completing the group of three called in.

Ajax’s Calvin Bassey and Zaidu Sanusi of FC Porto are the most intriguing names from Peseiro’s group of defenders with both showing good form in European football. With captain William Troost-Ekong out due to injury it appears to be a battle between Bassey, Semi Ajayi, Kevin Akpoguma and Kenneth Omeruo for two spots in the center of defense. Another center back, Bruno Onyemaechi, continues to seek his debut appearance after being called in for Nigeria’s friendly against Portugal while Turkish-based Bright Osayi-Samuel appears to be the likely starter at right back.

Wilfried Ndidi is set for his first appearance of the 2023 AFCON qualifying campaign in the heart of the Nigerian midfield after missing out on the opening two matches due to injury. Frank Onyeka is another deep lying midfield option with Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi the creative options available for Peseiro.

The full list of players is below.