The 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) has come and gone, but memories of the competition still linger in the mind of football fans in Nigeria. Completesportsnigeria.com’s ADEBOYE AMOSU here lists five home-based Super Eagles players who are good enough to challenge for places in the main squad ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia…
The goalkeeper, barring any unforseen circumstances, should be part of Nigeria’s 23-man squad to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Ezenwa demonstrated his quality with excellent displays at the African Nations Championship before injury cut short his participation in the semi-final against Sudan.
He was voted man of the match for his exemplary showing in the quater-final win against Angola. With veteran and former Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama not ready to stage a comeback and his successor Carl Ikeme facing health challenges, the coast now appears clear for the Enyimba goal tender to be between the sticks for Nigeria in Russia.
The centre-back impressed at the African Nations Championship and has been earmarked for a role with the Super Eagles ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The likes of William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Kenneth Omeruo and Chidozie Awaziem are definitely ahead of him in the pecking order. Injury or loss of form by any of the quartet may hand him the chance to make the World Cup squad.
Dayo Ojo was one of the key performers for the Home Eagles in Morocco. Though breaking into the main Super Eagles squad looks like a tall order for the combative midfielder, he would fancy his chances of challenging for a place in the team.
A good passer of the ball who is also blessed with an excellent shooting ability, Ojo was named in the team of the tournament by the Confederation of African Football.
Plateau United shot stopper Dele Ajiloye made just two appearances for Nigeria at CHAN in Morocco but put himself in the frame for a place in the World Cup with exceptional performances in those games. The duo of Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi are ahead of him in the pecking order but he has proved he is worthy of consideration too.
The former Enugu Rangers defender who is keen on securing a move abroad also had a good competition in Morocco. Though a centre-back, Orji can also fill the right-back position. His versatility could put him in the frame for the World Cup even though that appears to be a tall order.