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Bafana will face new wave of Super Eagles

By Tshepang Mailwane | 2017-06-09 07:13:14.0

9 September 2007, Benni McCarthy and Billy Mwanza having words during the African Cup of Nations qualifier match between South Africa and Zambia held at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo by Gallo Images

Nigeria are doing their best to rebuild their squad after missing out on the last two editions of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

A lot of the players in the squad that has been selected to face Bafana Bafana in a 2019 Afcon qualifier at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo tomorrow (6pm) are 25 or younger, which shows the path the Super Eagles are taking.

Gone are the days of the likes of Vincent Enyeama, John Obi Mikel, Efe Ambrose and Emmanuel Emenike. Now it's the turn of youngsters such as William Troost-Ekong, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi to take Nigerian football back to the top, and they'll want to show how good they are by getting a good result against Bafana.

Here we look at how things have changed in the different departments in the Nigerian squad.

Goalkeeping

According to the media in Nigeria, Chippa United's Daniel Akpeyi is favoured for the number one jersey against Bafana. No one has really held on to the position since Enyeama retired, so this is a good chance for 30-year-old Akpeyi, who is the oldest in the squad, to make a mark.

Defence

Nigeria have tons of potential at the back, with Kenneth Omeruo and Troost-Ekong likely to feature against Bafana. At age 23, former Chelsea player Omeruo has made more than 30 appearances while Troost-Ekong showed great potential during last year's Olympics in Rio. Another player rated highly in Nigeria is Maarouf Youssef, who plays for Egyptian giants Zamalek.

Midfield

Mikel was a mainstay of the Nigerian midfield, but 20-year-old Leicester City hardman Wilfried Ndidi is their man now in that position. Etebo Oghenekaro, the 21-year-old left winger who is based in Portugal, will be high on confidence after making 27 appearances at club level.

Forward

This is where Nigeria are most dangerous, with the threat posed by the English Premier League duo of Iheanacho and Iwobi, who are 20 and 21 respectively. Henry Onyekuru, 20, is seen as the next best thing after scoring 22 goals in the Belgian league, while 21-year-old Moses Simon's three goals in 15 appearances for the national team make him someone they can develop for the future.

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