At a time the likes of Gift Emmanuel Orban and Victor Boniface are painting Europe with goals, Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro chose to insist on skipper Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo and Paul Onuachu for the crucial 2023 AFCON qualifiers against Guinea Bissau.
Wins at home and away by the Super Eagles over Guinea Bissau later this month will book Nigeria a ticket to the AFCON, which will be hosted by Cote d’Ivoire in January 2024.
This will be with two more rounds of qualifying matches after the team won their first two matches and top their qualifying group with Guinea Bissau second on four points.
It is therefore of utmost importance that Peseiro puts up his best squad for these qualifiers.
Instead the coach, who has yet to enjoy the confidence of the public after losses in friendlies against Portugal, Mexico and Ecuador, appears not to be impressed by current form.
Ahmed Musa, 30, may be the record capped player by Nigeria, but he has yet to score for relegation-threatened Sivasspor after he was dumped by another Turkish club Fatih Karagumruk for non-performance.
Onuachu, on the other hand, has yet to settle down in the Premier League following his transfer in January to strugglers Southampton.
Such dubious selections by Peseiro again question his competence and integrity.
It also underlines the importance of technical committee that would have independently vetted these invitations.
The Super Eagles are in desperate need of new energy and a major overhaul after the country failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The Oyibo Wall of William Ekong and Leon Balogun has long crumbled and so there is an urgent need to rebuild the central defence, but a recall for Omeruo is most baffling.
The 29-year-old defender is one of the most experienced internationals having made his debut in 2012, but on current form he is a no-go.
The present as well as the future in the heart of the back four will be the likes of Boavista defender Bruno Onyemaechi, Flying Eagles captain Daniel Bameyi and Calvin Bassey.
Bameyi, for one, showed his versatility at right fullback in the knockout rounds of the recent U20 AFCON in Egypt.
The midfield will continue to be bare of the requisite talent as only Alex Iwobi has played regularly for Everton this season, while Wilfred Ndidi, Joe Aribo and Frank Onyeka have been consigned to the bench in the Premier League.
Defensive midfielder Raphael Onyedika has established himself at Belgian champions Club Brugge, but has since been overlooked by Peseiro since his debut in Algeria last year.
The lack of quality in midfield is the main reason the strikers who paint Europe with goals week in, week out, fail to fire with the Super Eagles.
Peseiro has to bring in top-quality midfielders who are doing the business at their clubs regularly, if not his declaration that the Super Eagles will be champions of Africa again next year is only a gimmick to hang on to his job.
The Full Squad:
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia/CYP), Victor Sochima (Rivers United), Kingsley Aniagboso (Giant Brillars)
Defenders: Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce SK/TUR), Kevin Akpoguma (TSG Hoffenheim/GER), Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes/SPA), Calvin Bassey (FC Ajax/NED), Daniel Bameyi (YumYum FC), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto/POR), Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista FC.POR)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/ENG), Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC/ENG), Alex Iwobi (Everton FC/ENG), Joe Aribo (Southampton/ENG)
Forwards: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City/ENG), Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor/TUR), Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal CF/SPA), Moses Simon (FC Nantes/FRA), Ademola Lookman (Atalanta BC/ITA), Terem Moffi (OGC Nice/FRA), Victor Osimhen (Napoli/ITA), Paul Onuachu (Southampton/ENG)
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