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Soccer News of Monday, 25 September 2023


Boniface and Orban: The newbies who can lead Nigeria to AFCON glory in Cote D'Ivoire

L-R: Victor Boniface, Gift Orban, Jordan Torunarigha L-R: Victor Boniface, Gift Orban, Jordan Torunarigha

Super Eagles Head Coach, Jose Peseiro heeded calls from fans to invite some fresh legs into the national team.

Football-loving fans of the Super Eagles have clamored for young talented stars who are doing well in Europe to be given a chance with the Super Eagles.

In response to the calls, the likes of Victor Boniface, Gift Orban and Jordan Torunarigha were handed their first national team call-up for the Super Eagles last AFCON qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe.

Nigeria thumped the island nation 6-0 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Oyo with Victor Osimhen grabbing a hat-trick.

Taiwo Awoniyi, Samuel Chukwueze and Ademola Lookman were all on the scoresheet.

In this piece, we will examine how the new invitees can bolster the team ahead of next year's AFCON in Ivory Coast.

Victor Boniface

The in-form Bayern Leverkusen striker made his debut for the three-time African champions after coming on as a second-half substitute for Nottingham Forest striker, Taiwo Awoniyi in the 64th minute.

Boniface marked his debut with an assist as he teed up Samuel Chukwueze for Nigeria's last goal of the game.

The 22-year-old is undoubtedly a huge bolster to the already blazing Super Eagles attack.

The former Union SG striker has been phenomenal since completing his move to the Bundesliga this season.

Boniface bagged 4 goals in 3 appearances for Leverkusen last month to win the Player of the Month and the Rookie award.

He offers the team a lot of options in attack with the likes of Victor Osimhen, Taiwo Awoniyi, Terem Moffi, Kelechi Iheanacho all competing for a starting role.

Gift Orban

The Gent forward was also handed his first call-up to the Super Eagles following his outstanding performance in the Belgian Pro League.

Unlike Boniface, Orban didn't feature against Sao Tome and Principe as he watched the game from the bench.

Orban has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League with Spurs and Fulham reportedly interested in his signature.

The 21-year-old has netted 26 goals in 31 appearances for the Belgian side since joining the club 9 months ago from Norwegian second division side, Stabaek.

He is viewed as a great addition to the like of Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze on the Super Eagles wings.

Jordan Torunarigha

The German-born defender also earned his first national team call-up for the dead rubber against Sao Tome and Principe.

The 26-year-old couldn't make his debut for the 2013 Nations Cup winners as he was benched for the entire 90 minutes by Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro.

The Portuguese gaffer after the game explained that it was his decision not to play the Gent defender.

Torunarigha earned his first call-up after close monitoring by Jose Peseiro who convinced him to switch allegiance to Nigeria.

“It’s my decision not to play him against Sao Tome and Principe but he will get his chance very soon,” Peseiro told the media in Uyo

“He is a good player. I spoke with him last year and he agreed to come and play for us,” he added.

It remains to be seen how these three additions can boost the team's chances ahead of the Nations Cup early next year.

The Super Eagles will return to action against Saudi Arabia in an international friendly on October 13 at the Portimão Stadium in Portugal.