Nigeria have missed out on the last two editions of the African Nations Cup but they are seeking to make a revival under German coach Gernot Rohr.
They are without some experienced stars for Saturday’s opening 2019 Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa in Uyo‚ including captain John Obi Mikel‚ but still have plenty of talent from the top leagues in Europe.
Eagles players who could prove match-winners at the weekend
1) Kelechi Iheanacho (Mancchester City)
Iheanacho did not have the greatest season with English giants Manchester City as he battled with the competition up front at Eastlands‚ but he remains a key figure in the national set-up.
He has scored six goals in nine internationals for the Super Eagles and will be their lead forward again‚ with his last goal coming in the 3-0 win over Togo last weekend.
2) Alex Iwobi (Arsenal)
Iwobi can play on either wing and is coming off a good season for Arsenal‚ where the 21-year-old netted four goals from his wide positions.
He also netted for Nigeria in their 2-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Zambia in October last year‚ his only international goal to date.
The versatile attacking midfielder can play as an out-and-out winger‚ or up front in a 4-3-3 with Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa.
3) Ahmed Musa(Leicester City)
The most experienced of the forwards in the Nigeria squad‚ Musa is a player who has hurt Bafana in the past‚ denying them a rare win when he equalised late on in a 1-1 draw in march 2015.
He has flourished under Rohr and scored twice in the 2-0 win over Togo last weekend‚ showing form coming into the qualifier with Bafana.
Musa can also play as a winger or an out-and-out forward and has blistering pace to go with a rocket shot.
4) Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Ndidi had the unenviable task of replacing the outstanding N’Golo Kanté at English side Leicester City when he arrived in January this year from Racing Genk‚ but after a slow start flourished in his defensive midfield role to become a real fan favourite.
He also showed his stamina by playing in an incredible 59 games for club and country‚ including both the UEFA Europa League (with Genk) and the Champions League (with Leicester).
5) Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor)
Onazi is an experienced campaigner and in the absence of Obi Mikel will be a crucial anchor in the Nigeria midfield.
The 24-year-old had spent five seasons with Lazio in Italy’s Serie A before joining Trabzonspor ahead of last season‚ where he had a good campaign.
He has met South Africa on four previous occasions‚ including both qualifiers in the 2015 Nations Cup preliminaries‚ and is yet to taste defeat.