New Super Eagles stars? Who can boost Nigeria ahead of AFCON 2025?

Nigeria stands as one of the finest footballing nations globally, boasting abundant talent and quality.

The just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) provided Super Eagles players with a platform to showcase to the footballing world why they merit donning the iconic green and white jersey.

There were, of course, those who were confident of securing a spot on the plane to Ivory Coast, while others find themselves on the periphery, eager to assert their worth in the near future.

A multitude of players are still awaiting their inaugural Super Eagles cap but have demonstrated signs that they possess the ability to contribute to the team.

Players who can help the Super Eagles win AFCON 2025

Here, we present nine players who could become key fixtures in the Super Eagles team in the near future.

Dominic Solanke

Dominic Solanke's exceptional form in the Premier League with Bournemouth represents a significant milestone in his career.

The seasoned striker, who has previously represented England at various youth levels, has truly flourished this season, netting an impressive 13 goals in just 23 matches.

While Solanke has consistently shown allegiance to the English national team, recent reports indicate his willingness to consider playing for the Eagles should he not secure a spot in England‘s squad for the upcoming European Championships.

Given his demonstrated support for the Eagles during the AFCON, the NFF should promptly pursue him. Solanke has the potential to bring a new dynamic to the already potent Nigerian attack.

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Gabriel Osho

Throughout the tournament in Ivory Coast, the Super Eagles exhibited commendable defensive prowess, conceding merely four goals across seven games.

Notably, three of those goals occurred during the semifinal and final matches. While William Troost-Ekong and Semi Ajayi formed a solid defensive partnership in the centre-back role, bolstering the squad with a Premier League player could prove advantageous.

Osho, having featured in 14 EPL matches for Luton FC, has emerged as a pivotal figure for his team. Not limited to defensive duties, he has contributed offensively with two goals and possesses the versatility to operate as a right-back.

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Caleb Okoli

Born in Vicenza, Italy, Okoli emerges as a prospective asset for the Super Eagles in the years to come. Presently on loan from Atalanta, Okoli has carved out a significant role at Serie A outfit Frosinone, featuring in 23 league matches.

His loan stint at Cremonese during the 2021/22 season showcased his prowess, contributing to their promotion to the Italian Serie A.

While Italy may seek to enlist him for the Azzuri, given his appearances for their underage teams (U19, U20, and U21), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) could sway the talented defender's international allegiance by acting swiftly in 2024.

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Such a move could see the promising youngster commit his international future to the three-time African champions.

Ifeanyi Mathew

Some Super Eagles supporters remained dissatisfied with the team's midfield performance during the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). While Alex Iwobi and Frank Onyeka displayed decent performances, they lacked the creativity and finesse necessary, impacting the team's overall performance in the tournament.

To tackle this issue, Nigerian fans have been eagerly anticipating the emergence of a new creative midfielder, and Matthew seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Currently plying his trade in the Swiss Super League for FC Zurich, the 26-year-old has been a standout performer this season. Featuring in all 24 matches so far, he has contributed with one goal and three assists, playing a role in roughly 20% of his team's goals this season.

With the Eagles experiencing a shortage of midfield options, having only five selected for the AFCON from a 25-man roster, the addition of a skilled midfielder like Matthew could significantly enhance the team's prospects in forthcoming competitions.

Fisayo Dele-Basiru

Dele-Basiru has only made a single appearance for the Eagles. Bringing a valuable addition as an attacking midfielder, the 22-year-old emerged from the Manchester City academy and is the younger sibling of former Flying Eagles midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru.

Tom was a member of Nigeria's Flying Eagles squad at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland. Dele-Basiru transitioned to Sheffield Wednesday in 2020 and has since amassed over 80 appearances for the Sky Bet Championship club.

This season, the talented midfielder made a move to Turkish Super Lig side Hatayaspor in July, contributing four goals and four assists for the team thus far.

Carney Chukwuemeka

An evident void in Jose Peseiro's team is the absence of a top-tier attacking midfielder, with players like Iwobi and Joe Aribo failing to consistently deliver.

However, Chukwuemeka, a promising talent born in Austria, emerges as a potential solution to this crucial position.

The 20-year-old showcased his exceptional potential on the international stage by playing a pivotal role in England's triumph at the UEFA European U-19 Championship in 2022.

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Although eligible to represent Austria, England, and Nigeria, persuading Chukwuemeka to choose the Super Eagles could be a significant accomplishment, akin to the successful recruitment of Victor Moses, who famously opted for Nigeria over England due to the abundant talent within the Nigerian squad.

Michael Olise

Olise, a talented attacking midfielder, was born in England to a Nigerian father and a French-Algerian mother. With eligibility to represent multiple nations such as France, Algeria, England, and Nigeria, his potential inclusion could greatly benefit the Super Eagles.

As a left-footed player, Olise‘s versatility allows him to excel in the number 10 role or as a left- or right-sided attacking midfielder. Renowned for his adeptness at delivering incisive passes that can confound defences, he possesses excellent ball control and situational awareness.

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Additionally, Olise exhibits a remarkable passing range, frequently utilising it to penetrate opposition defenses or alter the direction of attack. These attributes are precisely what the Eagles require to inject the creativity essential for success.

Elijah Adebayo

Adebayo‘s season has been remarkable, with 9 goals in 23 league appearances and a standout display against Brighton.

His scoring prowess has not only bolstered Luton Town's premier League journey but has also captured the interest of numerous clubs seeking to enhance their attacking capabilities.

In a recent interview, the 26-year-old expressed his availability for a Nigerian national team call-up. This choice was influenced by his mother's unwavering backing of the Super Eagles during the AFCON.

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Nathan Tella

Tella previously featured in the Nigerian team. He received a call-up from Peseiro on November 10, 2023, to participate in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

While he didn't feature in the Lesotho match, he started in the 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe at the Huye Stadium in Rwanda.

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Despite being included in the provisional squad, Tella didn't make the final roster for AFCON 2024. Considering his noteworthy displays at Bayer Leverkusen, it is crucial to effectively assimilate the midfielder into the Super Eagles squad.

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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.