It has been a disappointing year for Nigeria's Super Eagles after missing out on the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup. The three-time African champions are missing in Qatar after they missed out on qualification to Ghana via the away goals rule.
Revealing Nigeria's potential squad for the 2026 World Cup in USA, Canada and Mexico
The 2026 World Cup is still four years away, but we look at the players who could be in the Super Eagles squad.
The two West African rivals met across two legs in the final playoff, with the first match ending goalless in Kumasi. The Super Eagles needed just a win in the second leg in Abuja to secure qualification but could only manage a 1-1 draw, meaning Ghana progressed via the away goals rule.
Although The Black Stars have made Africa proud since the competition started, Nigeria's absence meant many of the players in the current squad missed the chance to play in their first World Cup.
However, the good news is that they only have to wait for three years and a few months before the next World Cup comes around.
With the competition expanding to 48 teams in 2026, the Super Eagles should have no problem qualifying, as Africa will have nine slots.
With the Super Eagles virtually assured of a place in the next World Cup, we draw up a list of players that will make the squad.
NB: This is a squad of just 23 players and not 26, which FIFA allowed for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Francis Uzoho, Maduka Okoye and Adebayo Adeleye
Uzoho already has one World Cup experience, as he was in goal for Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup. But at the age of 24, he is well-primed to make another appearance in 2026. The Omonia Nicosia goalkeeper was partly at fault for Nigeria's failure to qualify for Qatar 2022, but he is a key player in the Super Eagles set-up.
Maduka Okoye should also get a call-up despite the criticism he received following Nigeria's failure at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The 22-year-old's Super Eagles career has been hot and cold, but he will likely challenge Uzoho for the number-one spot in 2026.
Adebayo Adeleye should take the third spot, but he could also challenge the first two for the first choice if he gets a big move.
William Troost-Ekong, Calvin Bassey, Chidozie Awaziem, Kevin Akpoguma, Ola Aina, Zaidu Sanusi, Tyronne Ebuehi, Bright Osayi-Samuel.
William Troost-Ekong will be 32 by the time the next World Cup comes around, but his experience will be key. With Ahmed Musa likely to be retired by then, Ekong's leadership will be key.
Bassey is one of Nigeria's best players right now, and at the age of 23, he will be an important player for the Super Eagles for many years. Chidozie Awaziem is one of the most experienced players in the squad, but he is only 25, which means he will be in the squad as long as he is still playing at a top level.
Ola Aina and Zaidu Sanusi will be Nigeria's first-choice full-backs in 2026 if they keep up their form. However, Tyronne Ebuehi and Bright-Osayi Samuel, who only made his debut against Portugal, will be pushing from the bench.
Wilfred Ndidi, Alex Iwobi, Eberechi Eze, Raphael Onyedika, Alhassan Yusuf
In the middle of the park, Ndidi, Aribo, and Iwobi are dead certs to make the squad, provided they do not suffer a major injury.
Aside from Ndidi and Iwobi, Nigeria will push for Eberechi Eze. Eze is eligible to represent both Nigeria and England, with the Three Lions monitoring his progress.
However, considering the competition for spots in England's midfield, Eze will be tempted to play for Nigeria, where he is guaranteed a spot.
Raphael Onyedika and Alhassan Yusuf are Nigeria's next superstars, so they should complete the lineup in the midfield.
Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, Samuel Chukwueze, Moses Simon, Terem Moffi, and Umar Sadiq.
Unless he suffers a major injury, Victor Osimhen will lead the line for Nigeria in 2026. The Napoli man is yet to play a role for Nigeria in a major tournament, but 2026 could be the year he explodes on the biggest stage.
Nigeria's attack is currently stacked, which means the coach could have a problem with his choices. But judging right now, Moffi, Sadiq, Simon and Chukwueze are likely to complete a fearsome Nigerian attack.