By Michelle Dada
National football is one of the most important branches of football, not just because of the pride and bragging rights for the country, but also because of the honour and pride an individual feels to represent his or her fatherland.
At a time when countries are putting forward their very best, regardless of age to boost their power ranking in the football world, the question comes to mind how much quality can the national U-23 players offer to the Super Eagles team?
For the few who watch club football outside the EPL, these names and the quality they offer would not be strange or surprising.
First on this list is Samuel Chukwueze, a 19-year-old right winger who plays for Spanish side Villarreal.
At a time when the Super Eagles is without a competitive right winger due to the retirement of Victor Moses, and the loss of Moses Simon to injury, he comes as a perfect fit. Amazing footwork, superb close control with powerful long range shots, it is little wonder people have likened him to Arjen Robben. His ball control is pleasing to the eyes and he makes first touches look as easy as hot knife through butter.
One of the three major attacking forces for Villarreal, and with 8 goals and 2 assists in 27 games, he has proven himself ready for the senior national team. I’m not sure there is any other player ready to command the right wing with as much ease as he does.
Kelechi Nwakali, Arsenal wonderboy currently on loan at Porto comes second on this list. Despite limited appearances this season for Porto B FC side he has shown flashes of brilliance in games which he has played.
A central midfielder with the capability to rival Etebo as a perfect replacement for Mikel Obi. He is more attacking minded than Etebo, although less energetic, has an eye for the pass and can make the difference in games where goals are needed, he is also not afraid to take on defenders if the opportunity arises.
Another ability which puts him above Etebo is his setpiece prowess, a bit of which was seen when he represented the national side against Atletico Madrid in 2018. This also comes at a time when the Super Eagles lack a player with this ability. His inclusion to the senior team would definitely be a huge boost to both parties.
The final player on this list is Victor Osimhen, German side Wolfsburg’s player on loan at Charleroi FC.
After an explosive performance at the U-17 AFCON performance, he moved on to Wolfsburg where he had a rough patch but is presently rediscovering his form at Belgian side Charleroi with 10 goals in 22 appearances. He is a suitable replacement for the aging Odion Ighalo.
An agile and tall forward who is a threat with long balls and set-pieces, he would be a perfect player alongside Ahmed Musa to lead the Super Eagles’ attack. A player with shot accuracy, great movement on and off the ball, positional awareness and a constant attacking threat.
With the current talents in the Super Eagles team, and these upcoming ones, it would be lovely to see how Gernot Rohr, the senior team coach, intends to blend in these set of boys perfectly as he eyes a strong performance at the Africa Cup of Nations in June and ahead of other national competitions.
Michelle Dada is a polyglot football analyst and writer. Follow her @FEMMEMONDIALE on twitter for more interactions.
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