The Super Eagles are on the rise, with a healthy core playing at the highest level, the Nigerian National Team is hoping to make a deep run in the 2022 World Cup. Gernot Rohr’s squad is getting ready for World Cup qualifying in 2021 as they are in Group C with Cape Verde, Liberia, and the Central African Republic.
The Super Eagles have been to six of the last eight World Cups since 1990. They have generally gotten to the Round of 16, with the 1994 World Cup being considered by many to have been their best performance. In 2018 they did not qualify for the second round and this has led to adjustments to the program.
Currently, the Super Eagles are ranked 32 in the FIFA Rankings, and with these 20 players, Nigeria will hope that they will continue to develop and finally be able to make a deep run in a World Cup.
20. Sebastian Osigwe
Sebastian Osigwe is hoping to become the Super Eagles number 1 in goal. Goalkeeping has always been an issue for African teams, Osigwe is Swiss-born and is playing at FC Lugano in the Swiss league.
At 26, he is the closest competition to take the starting spot from Daniel Akpeyi. A known shot-stopper, he has kept many clean sheets at the club level and could be that jump in quality that Nigerian fans are hoping for.
19. Ola Aina
The Fulham defender has established a healthy career for himself, the one time Chelsea product represented England at the youth level before choosing the Super Eagles in his one time switch.
At the club level, Aina has played in England and Italy’s top flights. His experience will make him one of the leaders going forward at the back for the Super Eagles. He missed out on the 2018 World Cup squad but since then he has played a big role for the national team.
18. Samson Tijani
The young up and coming Samson Tijani has been plying his trade on loan in the Austrian Bundesliga for Hartberg. He is officially on the books for Red Bull Salzburg and made his competitive debut on August 30th against Dornbirner in the Austrian Cup.
At 18 and in a system that has improved players like Erling Haaland, Nigerian soccer fans should feel at ease that Tijani is in the right place to move his development forward. Getting first-team minutes is key and he is doing just that with Hartberg.
17. William Troost-Ekong
The experienced defender has been a fixture on the national team since 2015. After a stint in Serie A he is now at Watford, but it was his time at Udinese where he really came into his own and established himself. While the club was up and down the defender was a consistent starter.
At the international level, he had the chance to represent the Netherlands, where he played in various youth national teams, but he choose to play for the Super Eagles and in 2019 he stated that it was the "best decision ever". A leader at the back he is the most capped Nigerian defender at the moment.
16. Ramon Azeez
One of the more experienced midfielders in the Nigerian national team pool, Ramon Azeez was recalled to the national team after five years. He plays for La Liga team Granada, where he has established himself.
Azeez has only played 6 times for the Super Eagles but he could be a good utility man going forward, he has World Cup experience and is playing at the highest level in La Liga. He may still have something to offer.
15. Maduka Okoye
Having competition in goal is healthy for any national team, and Nigeria is no exception. Maduka Okoye is young but he already has gained experience playing regularly for Fortuna Düsseldorf’s reserve side.
Now at Sparta Rotterdam in the Netherlands, he will look to get first-team minutes and build on his young career. At the international level, he has already earned 3 caps for the Super Eagles.
14. Samuel Kalu
The speedy winger, Samuel Kalu wears the number 10 jersey for Girondins Bordeaux in France. After a healthy spell in Gent where he scored 10 goals in 48 games, he moved to France on a five-year deal.
Dynamic and creative Kalu has very good European experience and has already scored 2 goals in 13 appearances for the Super Eagles. This could be his breakout year where he works his way back to the national team.
13. Zaidu Sanusi
The lanky left-back is fresh off of a major move to Portuguese powerhouse F.C. Porto. After building up his career in various teams in Portugal the 23-year-old has already played with Porto this season.
Sanusi has been capped twice by Nigeria and will look to continue his ascension on the National team. Getting first-team minutes at a club like Porto will be vital for Sanusi as he will look to find his place regularly on the starting 11 at both club and country.
12. Peter Etebo
Etebo has bounced around a bit after losing his position at Stoke City, but he can still be a decisive midfielder for the Super Eagles if he finds his footing at Galatasaray in Turkey.
At the international level, he is one of the team’s more experienced players. He played in all three of Nigeria’s World Cup games in 2018 and he was apart of the Bronze medal side at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
11. Emmanuel Dennis
The young forward is getting huge Champions League minutes with Club Brugge. He has scored 17 goals in 71 appearances for the Belgian side. He scored two goals against Real Madrid in last year’s Champions League Group stage.
In 2019, Dennis made his senior national team debut and at the moment has made 2 appearances with the Super Eagles. He will be a go-to forward as his career progresses.
10. Moses Simon
Simon is looking to get back on the national team radar after not being called up to the squad for the recent round of international fixtures. The forward has good skill but has yet to impress, he recently moved to Nantes in France where he had a very successful loan spell.
With Nigeria, he has 5 goals in 33 caps, if Simon can find a consistent scoring touch he could be very helpful for Nigeria down the road. His last goal for the National team came in March 2019. The talent is there, all he needs to do is keep it consistent.
9. Taiwo Awoniyi
At 23 Awoniyi has already had a journey man’s career, he has gone on loan to various clubs although he is officially tied to Liverpool. Many have compared him to Rashidi Yekini, Nigeria’s all-time top scorer.
He is tall and can be effective in the air and when receiving crosses, he has represented Nigeria in all of their youth teams and has yet to earn his first cap. He has the skills and the talent but he needs to find a home and consistency.
8. Umar Sadiq
The young forward who plays for Almeria has found a home in Spain where he has already scored 1 goal in his first 5 appearances. He had a very good run at Serbian giants, Partizan.
A tall forward who is good in the air this could be his breakout year and a year where he works his way to the national team. In total, he has 28 goals in 85 league games.
7. Joe Aribo
The 24-year-old has made a good splash for the Super Eagles scoring 2 goals in 4 caps. The Rangers midfielder has been a steady contributor since his arrival in 2019.
A good box to box midfielder he has a nose for goal, scoring against none other than Brazil in an international friendly in October of 2019.
6. Wilfred Ndidi
The Leicester City defensive midfielder has firmly established himself in the EPL with well over 100 appearances for the Foxes. He is best known for his tough defensive play and long-range strikes to goal.
At the national team level, he has played over 30 times for the Super Eagles and could be a huge piece for the Super Eagles in their run-up to the 2022 World Cup.
5. Henry Onyekuru
Henry Onyekuru is a tough winger and has started to earn playing time at Monaco. While at Galatasary, he won both the Turkish Super League title and Turkish Cup.
At the international level, he has earned 12 caps for the Super Eagles and scored 2 goals. He could be a very important player in the future for the national team at 23.
4. Samuel Chukwueze
The young Villarreal midfielder has been in Spain since 2018 moving up from the youth team to the senior squad. With well over 71 appearances in La Liga, Chukwueze is gaining good experience for his young age.
He has earned 15 caps with the Super Eagles and he has earned comparisons with Arjen Robben. He will look to build on his already impressive reputation during the next round of international call ups.
3. Victor Osimhen
The Napoli youngster has already cracked the starting 11 for the Serie A side. After coming on to the scene at Wolfsburg, Osimhen is now at Napoli having scored 2 goals in 6 games.
Osimhen has a lethal record for Nigeria he has 4 goals in 9 caps for the Super Eagles, and without a doubt is one of the country’s top prospects.
2. Alex Iwobi
Alex Iwobi has been a solid player for the Super Eagles, having spent his whole career in the EPL, playing 100 games for Arsenal and now at Everton. Iwobi played with the English youth national team before choosing to play for Nigeria.
With the Super Eagles, he has 7 goals in 42 caps, with two goals against Argentina in a friendly in 2017. Iwobi will be one of the nation’s key players to take Nigeria to the next step at a World Cup.
1. Kelechi Iheanacho
One of Nigeria’s best players Kelechi Iheanacho has already made a name for himself after jumping onto the scene with Manchester City in 2015. Now with Leicester City where he has 9 goals in 74 games for the Foxes.
With the Super Eagles, he has earned 27 caps and scored 9 goals, he did not make the final 23 man roster for the 2018 World Cup, but he will look to be a key figure in the lead up to the 2022 tournament.