Nigeria have already booked their ticket for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this summer, rendering the qualifier against the Seychelles later this month as something of a dead rubber. Even though the islanders troubled a poor South Africa side earlier in the qualifying campaign, they’ve already been dispatched by the Super Eagles at their home, and stand little chance in West Africa. Gernot Rohr should take the opportunity to blood some new faces, experiment with his peripheral options, and perhaps recall an old face or two.
Victor Moses announced his international retirement after the 2018 World Cup, but the wideman’s career has changed dramatically since then, and it would be worth attempting to lure him back to the fold for the Africa Cup of Nations. He could surely be tempted by the prospect of appearing in another major tournament, and his versatility up and down the right flank would be a valuable weapon for the Super Eagles. Moses has rediscovered some form after moving to Fenerbahce too, and has struck two in his last five league games.
Ikouwem Utin made the Team of the Tournament for the U-20 Afcon that was held in Niger last month, impressing Caf’s selectors with a series of fine displays to make the dream team alongside Valentine Ozornwafor. While the Flying Eagles maybe disappointed with their fourth-placed finish, Utin’s quality shone through, as he demonstrated the kind of class that was evident during the African Nations Championship in Morocco in 2018. Left-back isn’t an area of strength for the national side, and the Seychelles match is an opportunity to give Utin another taste of the full senior side.
John Obi Mikel has also been absent from the squad since the World Cup, with the national team selectors opting to allow him to rest in China regardless of whether he actually had injury problems or not! Now back in action and featuring for Middlesbrough in the Championship, Mikel should take this opportunity to reintegrate back into the fold. He doesn’t need to play the full match, but it would be valuable to have his presence in the camp ahead of the assault on the continental crown in Egypt later this year.
Tosin Omoyele demonstrated his quality for Plateau United in the Caf Champions League, memorably striking twice as they ultimately fell short against Etoile du Sahel. Understandably, he’s taken his time adapting to life in Egypt after signing for Nogoom, although a considerable spell of inactivity due to the suspension of the NPFL can’t have helped. He’s beginning to rediscover his form thought, notably netting a fine goal as Nogoom fell to a 2-1 defeat by Wadi Degla in late February. He’s a rough diamond, but has proved that he can thrive against some of Africa’s toughest defences.