Adebayo Adeleye's chance to usurp Maduka Okoye plus Super Eagles stars to watch against Algeria

The Israeli-based goalkeeper and other players will be eager to make a lasting impression when Nigeria take on Algeria.

Adebayo Adeleye has the chance to usurp Maduka Okoye when Nigeria take on Algeria

It has been far from ideal preparation for Nigeria's coach Jose Peseiro as the Super Eagles take on Algeria in a highly anticipated friendly encounter on September 27.


The Portuguese tactician initially called up 25 players for the encounter but has been forced to make multiple changes to his squad.

It means Peseiro will be without some of the Super Eagles regulars like Ahmed Musa, Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi and Victor Osimhen.

These players and a few others will not play a part when the three-time African champions take to the pitch on Tuesday night.

While Peseiro will be without some of his regulars, he can still rely on the likes of Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina and Calvin Bassey for the game.

But more importantly, the Portuguese tactician can try out new players and give fringe stars a chance to impress in the green white green jersey. Pulse Sports Nigeria takes a look at some of the players who will be aiming to make a lasting impression.

The number one position has been an issue in the Super Eagles squad since Vincent Enyeama retired and Carl Ikeme had to quit due to leukaemia.

Since then, the team has gone through different goalkeepers, but none has made the position his own. Ikechukuwu Ezenwa was the goalkeeper during qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, while Francis Uzoho was number one at the tournament proper.

Uzoho looked like he had won the battle until he suffered a knee injury in a friendly match against Brazil in 2019. This allowed Maduka Okoye to come in, and it looked like the German-born goalkeeper would establish himself.

However, it all went south for him at the 2021 Africa Cup Nations after he was blamed for the goal in the team's 1-0 loss to Tunisia.

His mistake cost Nigeria a place in the quarter-finals, which led to heavy criticism. Okoye's mistake allowed Uzoho to come back into the picture, but the ex-Golden Eaglets star's mistake in the World Cup playoff was equally costly as Nigeria's missed out on Qatar 2022 qualification.

With Okoye and Uzoho failing to establish themselves, Peseiro has called up Adebayo Adeleye for the game to challenge for a number one spot.

Initially, it looked like Adeleye would not get a look in, but Okoye's error in the test game against the Algeria B team on Friday has opened up a massive opportunity for him, especially with Uzoho not playing for his club.

While Adeleye may not necessarily be an upgrade on Okoye and Uzoho, he still has the edge over the two as he plays for his club regularly.

In contrast, Uzoho and Okoye are playing second fiddle at their respective clubs. And with the game against Algeria being a friendly match, there is no better time for Peseiro to thrust Adeleye into action. If he gets the chance, it is now left to Adeleye to show why he should be Nigeria's number one.

There have been calls for Onyedika to get a call-up to the Super Eagles squad for a long time, but he never got the chance, with coaches preferring the old guard. But the 21-year-old finally has his chance, which would not have happened if he had not signed for Club Brugge from FC Midtjylland in the summer.

Onyedika has started brilliantly with the Belgian champions, helping them to an impressive start in the Champions League.

With his impressive performances on the biggest stage, denying him a national team invitation would have been impossible. Onyedika plays predominantly as a defensive midfielder, but he also plays centrally. And with the shortage of midfielders in the squad, Onyeka has the opportunity to show why many people want him in the Super Eagles.

Akpoguma has four caps for Nigeria, coincidentally making his debut against Algeria in 2020. But he never really established himself in the squad.

He has not played for Nigeria since 2020, although there were reports he excused himself because of what he perceived as favouritism towards some players.

However, with a new man in charge and Nigeria's lack of options in the central defence, Akpoguma could stake a claim with a strong showing against the Desert Warriors.

William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun have been Nigeria's centre-backs for years, but with both struggling for game time and Ekong out due to an injury, it may just be the time for Akpoguma.

It is crazy that Nigeria's top scorer in Europe's top five leagues this season still needs to prove himself in the national team. But that says a lot about the quality the team has in attack.

Moffi has scored six goals for Lorient in Ligue 1 this season, yet the match against Algeria is another audition for him to show why he belongs in the squad regularly.

He would probably not have started if Victor Osimhen and Umar Sadiq had been fit. But with both players out, Moffi has the chance to show that he can challenge Osimhen for a starting spot in the team.

Taiwo Awoniyi got his chance at the 2021 AFCON, but he never took it. He was largely disappointing in the tournament despite scoring one goal.

Awoniyi was bullied off the ball easily despite his bulky nature, while his link-up play was poor. Since then, he never got another invitation despite his impressive form at Union Berlin before joining Nottingham Forest in the summer.

However, he has another chance against Algeria to show why he deserves more invitations. Awoniyi started the game against the Algeria B team on Friday but fired blanks in that game.

But he cannot afford to have another bad game on Tuesday if he gets the chance, considering the number of options the Super Eagles have in the attacking department.


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