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2022 World Cup: Super Eagles’ 26-man squad that could have been in Qatar

 


Monday, November 14 is FIFA’s deadline for teams to submit their 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup.

One country that won’t send theirs is Nigeria.

The Super Eagles will not be at the global football festival for the first time since 2006.

Nigeria’s 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Ghana in Abuja meant the Black Stars qualified instead.

It was quite a dramatic encounter, as Arsenal’s Thomas Partey struck after 10 minutes. His shot was not the hardest, but managed to squirm through Francis Uzoho.

It had undertones of the goal that beat Maduka Okoye at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

William Troost-Ekong levelled through a 22nd-minute penalty and Victor Osimhen saw his effort ruled out by VAR.

Wale Adigun, who is Head, Sports, Lasgidi FM 90.1, reckons that if the match played out differently, all the above, except Okoye would have been on the plane to Qatar.

“We don’t have a history of shock exclusions.

“But maybe Maduka Okoye,” Adigun tells DAILY POST.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper returned to the team for the first time since Nigeria’s exit from the AFCON for a behind-closed-door friendly with Algeria’s B team.

In a footage that emerged online, Okoye could be seen attempting to dribble the ball away from the opposition inches from his goal line.

However, his attempt ended in chaotic fashion as he was pressured into making a mistake and bizarrely lost both his footing and control of the ball instantly as it rolled into his goalpost.

Which players would have definitely made Jose Peseiro’s list?

“Uzoho, Zaidu Sanusi, Troost Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ola Aina, Omeruo, Raphael Onyedika, Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, Samuel Chukwueze, Terrem Moffi,” Adigun reeled out.

Solace Chukwu, who used to cover African Football for Goal, added Taiwo Awoniyi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Joe Aribo and Semi Ajayi to his list.

According to Chukwu, “(Umar) Sadiq, Collins and (Ola) Aina are injured, so they would miss out. Okoye and (Kelechi) Iheanacho’s lack of minutes would have been a challenge.

“The likes of Okereke, (Cyril) Dessers, (Paul) Onuachu, (Emmanuel) Dennis, (Leon) Balogun would also have been on shaky ground.”

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