Super Eagles interim coach Augustine Eguavoen is the first to admit that the team will miss Napoli striker Victor Osimhen at the AFCON in Cameroon.
A major facial injury compounded by Coronavirus infection has meant the Eagles top scorer in the AFCON qualifiers with five goals will not feature at African football’s showpiece event.
But the depth of attacking talent still available for selection by Eguavoen also means the strike force remains the strongest department of the Eagles at this AFCON.
Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City, Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi and Sadiq Umar from UD Almeria now have the chance to shine in Cameroon with the support of wingers like Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Chidera Ejuke, Henry Onyekuru and Peter Olayinka.
Lack of game time at his Premier League club shut out Iheanacho from the 2019 AFCON in Egypt, but he has since bounced back to the national team in style with goals and assists in England.
Awoniyi has settled down in the Bundesliga after his permanent transfer from Liverpool last summer.
He has now scored 13 goals and made three assists in all competitions for Union Berlin this season.
It was a form that earned him his full international debut against Central African Republic in October
Sadiq Umar scored 20 goals in the Spanish Segunda Division last season and he has since extended such form with nine goals thus far in the current campaign.
Nigeria football has long been known for its wing play and this tradition will be sustained by Villarreal ace Chukwueze, who shone at his first AFCON in Egypt three years ago.
He has returned from a long-term injury with goals for his club and the Eagles would be a lot better for it if only he could bring the strikers more into the play.
Moses Simon has already shown he is a team player with his series of assists in the French Ligue 1 this term.
Add his blistering speed and tracking back to help the defence to this and you have an attacking force that would trouble any defence.
The mazy dribbles of Ejuke as well as the guile and goals of Olayinka will unlock the tightest defences.
However, it is back in the Super Eagles defence where many questions are now being asked.
‘The Oyinbo Wall’ will not be back in Cameroon after a back injury ruled the dependable Leon Balogun, while the other half of this partnership, William Ekong, has been far from convincing on Watford return to the Premier League this season.
Ekong would most likely get the nod from the coach, but the question is who will now play alongside him in the heart of the back four.
Chidozie Awaziem is more athletic and adventurous than the older and more experienced Kenneth Omeruo, who has in the last few seasons looked very suspect at his Spanish club CD Leganes.
Maduka Okoye has all the credentials to keep the No.1 shirt ahead of Francis Uzoho and Daniel Akpeyi.
The rightback position will be between Ola Aina of Torino and Tyronne Ebuehi from another Italian Serie A club Venezia.
A bit of cheering news for the Eagles defence is that leftback Zaidu Sanusi has rediscovered his form at Portuguese giants FC Porto at the right time.
The Eagles genuine top star Wilfred Ndidi will boss the midfield as the defensive pivot, but who will bring the creative juice to the engine-room?
Both Alex Iwobi and Joe Aribo have struggled to impress in this regard so much so that the inclusion of Kelechi Nwakali has been warmly welcomed.
Nwakali has the skill set to bring the whole team to the play and he also enjoys the admiration of the coach.
His contract at Huesca ends this summer and so this is one big chance to sell himself to a bigger club in a bigger league.
How Eguavoen eventually sets up his midfield could well determine just how far these Super Eagles will fly at the AFCON.