5 Super Eagles crucial to Nigeria’s AFCON 2023 chances

Jose Peseiro last week revealed 25 players heading to Ivory Coast for AFCON 2023 as part of his Super Eagles squad, and several players were dropped, including Nathan Tella, Cyril Dessers, Kevin Akpoguma and Terem Moffi.

Wilfred Ndidi, who was originally named in the squad, had to drop out due to injury.

But from those who made the squad, five players could have a huge say in how Nigeria’s tournament shapes up. Peseiro’s side has been pitched against hosts Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

Players who can help Super Eagles win AFCON 2023

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen is a brute of a human being. He has the physical build and attacking skillset reminiscent of Didier Drogba. He utilises his body to good effect to pin and disrupt defenders when rumbling around the attacking third. He has a good burst and above-average speed but he is not especially quick; he is steadier and more functional.

Osimhen has everything: he's good on the ball, he scores goals and he helps his team. His quick movements are crucial in ‘killing' the opposition defenders. You just have to give a metre of space and he will hurt you. He will be Peseiro's main man to bang in the goals for the Super Eagles.

Victor Osimhen, Nigeria
Photo by Icon sport

Ademola Lookman

The Atalanta forward is explosive, excels in 1v1 situations and likes to come inside onto his favoured foot to have a crack at goal, or provide an incisive pass to teammates.

The benefit of having Lookman in the Super Eagles attack is his immense versatility. There is no one set position for Lookman, as he can play across the front three or just off the striker's shoulder, who would be Osimhen. The former Leicester City attacker would give the Nigerian attack more of a clinical edge in front of goal.

Alex Iwobi

The midfielder can be the beating heart of the Nigeria national team. He has shown this with his all-action exploits at Everton and now, Fulham. His combination of graft and skill makes him almost untouchable on these teams.

When in full flow, the Arsenal graduate is a joy to watch; gliding past opponents and threading incisive passes with ease. He can be Nigeria's creative spark in Ivory Coast, as well as embody the fighting spirit that characterised AFCON winners in the past.

As much as Iwobi comes ready with these invaluable attributes, Peseiro's application will be crucial to the Super Eagles' success in Ivory Coast.

Calvin Bassey

The Nigeria Super Eagles have been placed in a relatively challenging group at AFCON 2023, with Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in their way. They’ll need to produce some special, resolute performances to get past the group stage and need their players to shine. One player to keep an eye on is Calvin Bassey.

Bassey is an elite ball winner who leverages his incredible athletic profile into being a nuisance off the ball. He is fast, agile and robust in the challenge as well—the perfect profile to be the most aggressive defender in the Super Eagles defence who will step out of the defensive line and pressure the ball carrier.

The 24-year-old is a massive roadblock for opposition teams, and his defensive displays will surely be crucial to Nigeria's chances.

Nigeria football national team players Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen and Calvin Bassey pose for photographs while singing the national anthem.
Photo by Icon Spot

Victor Boniface

It is hard to overstate just how incredible Boniface is at football. If you have not boarded the hype train yet, do it now. The Bayern Leverkusen star is a prolific goal scorer whose intelligence off the ball is also impressive.

At only 22, Boniface has the attributes needed as well as the quality to drive this Super Eagles team forward. He can play as Osimhen's deputy or forge a formidable strike partnership with the Napoli star.

He might not start games, to begin with, but his composure on the ball and knack for a goal would be a most welcome addition.

AFCON 2023
Photo by Icon Sport
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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu is a purpose-driven Ghanaian sports writer with a sharp eye for excellence. He has had stints with www.kickgh.com inkandkicks.com and ghanafans.com. He loves to talk and write about football on the African continent.