Preparations for next year Africa Cup of Nations started in earnest for Nigeria after they booked their place at next year tournament courtesy of their 1-1 draw against South Africa in Johannesburg.
Coach Gernot Rohr has said he will beef up the squad of the team ahead of the challenge of featuring at the tournament for the first time in six years following their failure to qualify for the last two editions.
Owngoalnigeria.com takes a look at five players who stand a chance of coming into the squad for the tournament proper despite not taking part in the qualifiers games.
1. Efe Ambrose – Coach Gernot Rohr confirmed he is keeping a close watch on the Hibernian defender who has excelled this season in the Scottish Premier League. If he keeps playing at same level then he could sneak into the squad for the Cup of Nations.
2. Simy Nwankwo – Dropping a level down to the second division in Italy following the relegation of Crotone has no doubt hampered his international career with Nigeria. Yet to be called up since the World Cup in Russia 2018, a good run of form in front of goal for Crotone could open the door for him to stage a return.
3. Noah Joel Sarenren-Bazee – Hannover 96 golden boy who has struggled to stay fit since declaring to represent Nigeria ahead of Germany. He is however back to full fitness and on the strength of his showing before the international break, he is no doubt in the frame for a call up.
4. Anderson Esiti – Played in Gernot Rohr’s first away game as coach of Nigeria, a little over two years ago, the power playing defensive midfielder has not been invited since the game against Zambia in Ndola two years ago. His form at Belgium side Gent has improved greatly with impressive performance week in, week out. The door to gatecrash the squad is no doubt wide open for him.
5. Dennis Bonaventure – A bit unlucky that he hasn’t gotten the attention his form at Club Brugge deserve. He will no doubt force his way into the squad if he keeps playing with same consistency till the end of the season.