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Soccer News of Sunday, 18 September 2022

Source: www.soccernet.ng

Aribo’s surprise omission and 4 other points to take from Super Eagles squad to face Algeria

A list of 25 players was released on Saturday for the clash against the former African champions in Oran.

While some regular suspects made the list which had three goalkeepers, eight defenders, four midfielders and ten forwards, there were some unexpected inclusions and exclusions.

A list of 25 players was released on Saturday for the clash against the former African champions in Oran.

While some regular suspects made the list which had three goalkeepers, eight defenders, four midfielders and ten forwards, there were some unexpected inclusions and exclusions.

His incredible fitness means he’s available most of the time and his performance level is quite decent.

In the Super Eagles’ games against Ecuador and Mexico, he partnered Alex Iwobi in the middle but was dropped for the Sao Tome and Principe game which Nigeria won 10-0 and recorded their highest-ever victory.

From being benched to being snubbed for a friendly game, is Aribo being rested as he has hardly had that in 12 months, or Jose Peseiro is passing a message? Time will tell.

2. Ozornwafor-Balogun gaffe:

In the initial list released by the NFF, Sochaux defender Valentine Ozornwafor was omitted despite his club releasing a statement three days ago that he has been invited.

It took the NFF at least eight hours to correct the error and saw them replace Leon Balogun with the former Enyimba star.

The NFF also said Balogun is injured except that nothing proves that yet, including QPR coach, Michael Beale who was full of praise for the former Mainz defender after helping the Rangers to their second straight clean sheet.

3. Finally, Onyedika has his chance to impress

Raphael Onyedika will finally have an opportunity to show the coaching staff what he has.

The 21-year-old midfielder made one of the best moves of any Nigerian during the summer transfer window and has featured in two Champions League games this season, starting in both.

He shone greatly at Midtjylland last season and has continued with the form. His invitation is a positive to many fans who wanted an opportunity for him to make a mark.

The Super Eagles have tried various options outside of Wilfred Ndidi with Innocent Bonke the last seen of that ilk but none has been close to the Leicester midfielder in terms of importance or skill. Perhaps, Onyedika can mount a proper challenge.

4. Alhassan Yusuf needs to play for Real Madrid to earn a Super Eagles call-up
What does Alhassan Yusuf need to do to earn a Super Eagles invitation?

The young midfielder continued from where he stopped last season and has been decent for Royal Antwerp in the Jupiler league. His constant exclusion from the national team beggars belief considering his skillset isn’t common.

Already likened to Kante for his short busts and large lungs, Yusuf is young and has been one of Nigeria’s finest midfielders in Europe in the last two seasons.

A move to Real Madrid should encourage national handlers to invite him. Based on consistency and performance, not many have done better.

5. Maduka Okoye’s invitation is not justifiable

The whole of last season, there was hardly any Nigerian goalkeeper who had better consistency and performance than Maduka Okoye.

His AFCON ordeal was a low point in Nigerian football history as he got kicks and criticisms that were way below the belt. Nigerians have not seen the Watford goalkeeper in national colours ever since.

Okoye has gone from being number 1 in an Eredivisie team to the bench of a Championship team. While his move was sealed before Watford’s unfortunate Premier League fate, it was clear he had a great battle in his hands with Daniel Bachmann. More than a result of actual form or recent performance, Okoye’s invitation feels like a warm recall after the vituperation that followed his AFCON debacle.

In 10 Championship games this season, he has featured in none and has just a cup game under his belt.