The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to kick off their AFCON 2021 campaign in Cameroon after being drawn in Group D with Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.
The 28 man list that was released had some notable names missing from the squad for different reasons, including Victor Osimhen (COVID 19), Odion Ighalo (Not Released by Club), Dennis Emmanuel (Late Invitation Declined by Club), Leon Balogun (Injury), Shehu Abdullahi (Injury) and Oghenekharo Etebo (Injury).
However, the list consists of known names hoping to make their AFCON debut when Nigeria plays the Pharaohs of Egypt later today.
List of Super Eagles AFCON Debutants
Here is the list of some Nigerian AFCON debutants to watch out for in Cameroon;
1) Kelechi Iheanacho: Surprisingly, the Leicester City talisman has been a consistent figure in the Super Eagles team since making his senior debut in 2015, but the Eagles failure to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 edition coupled with his loss of form made him miss out of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
This season, the forward has been a consistent player for his English club side and would be pivotal in Nigeria’s chances of winning the tournament.
2) Joe Aribo: Unsurprisingly, the in-form Rangers man made his senior debut in a friendly game against Ukraine in 2019. The midfielder scored his first goal against Brazil in his next friendly game for Nigeria and has since had 11 caps to his name.
3) Kelechi Nwakali: The 2015 U-17 World Cup golden ball winner would be hoping to make his first competitive appearance for the senior team in Cameroon after making his debut in a makeshift Eagles side that lost 3-2 Atletico Madrid in Uyo.
However, the Huesca playmaker has fallen under the radar since his super performance at the U-17 World cup. Still, his consistent play for the club and his kin eye for instinctive passes has seen him earn his spot in the Eguaevon’s led side and will hope to put in a blistering show at the AFCON.
4) Chidera Ejuke: The CSKA Moscow winger has been rated the third world best dribbler behind Adama Traore and Nahuel Luján. He made his senior debut against Tunisia in 2020 and hoped to bring a spark to the Super Eagles side in Cameroon.
5) Taiwo Awoniyi: The former Liverpool man represented Nigeria in the U-17 World cup in 2013, scoring four goals to help the Eaglets win the tournament. This season, the Union Berlin forward has been in blistering form for his Bundesliga side after scoring nine goals already in 13 appearances.
6) Tyronne Ebuehi: The Netherland born Nigeria full-back has been unlucky with injuries in recent times, which made him miss out on the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.
The on-loan Benfica man made his senior debut in the friendly win over Senegal in 2017; his composure on the ball when under pressure would make him the first choice in Cameroon.
7) Sadiq Umar: The lanky Almeria striker has maintained his goalscoring prowess for two consecutive seasons, scoring 20 league goals in the 2020/21 season, while he has already scored nine and assisted seven in 21 appearances this season.
The 24-year-old would be looking to fill the void left by the absence of Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo.
Other notable mentions are Peter Olayinka, Frank Onyeka, Olisa Ndah and Zaidu Sanusi, would also be waiting to make their mark at the tournament when Nigeria takes on the Pharaoh’s of Egypt
The three time champions will kick start their group D campaign when they take on a record seven times winner Egypt by 5 pm today, with Sudan and Guinea Bissau the other team to make up the group.