Factbox on Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers Nigeria.

Africa Cup of Nations record:

Previous appearances in finals: (19) 1963, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2019, 2021

Best performance: Winners 1980, 1994, 2013

Drawn in Group A with Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Cote d’Ivoire.

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Coach: Jose Peserio

It has not been a happy time for the 63-year-old Portuguese technician since he took over at the helm of the Super Eagles in May 2022, with reports of late payment of his salary and constant criticism from supporters, especially since they lost to Guinea Bissau at home last year and in November drew their opening two 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Peserio has also served as coach of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and at club level been in charge at Porto, Sporting and Braga.

Key player: Victor Osimhen. Age: 25. Forward.

Voted African Footballer of the Year last month, the striker has been on a fast track since being spotted at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup where VfL Wolfsburg signed him. Moved to Lille with a 12 million euro ($13.14 million) price tag in 2019 where he steadily built his reputation and won a place in the Cup of Nations squad for the tournament in Egypt. A broken cheekbone ruled him out of the last finals but after recovering, and mostly wearing a trademark face mask, it was last season at Napoli that he became a major world star, top scoring in Serie A to help the club win the Scudetto.

FIFA world ranking Dec 2023: 42

How they qualified: Top team in Group A ahead of Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Sao Tome e Principe.


Goalkeepers: Stanley Nwabili (Chippa United), Olorunleke Ojo (Enyimba), Francis Uzoho (Omonia Nicosia)

Defenders: Ola Aina (Nottingham Forest), Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion), Chidozie Awaziem (Boavista), Calvin Bassey (Fulham), Kenneth Omeruo (Leganes), Bruno Onyemaechi (Boavista), Bright Osayi-Samuel (Fenerbahce), Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto), William Troost Ekong (PAOK Salonika)

Midfielders: Joe Aribo (Southampton), Alex Iwobi (Fulham), Raphael Onyedika (Club Brugge), Frank Onyeka (Brentford), Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp)

Forwards: Victor Boniface (Bayer Leverkusen), Samuel Chukwueze (AC Milan), Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Ademola Lookman (Atalanta), Ahmed Musa (Sivasspor), Victor Osimhen (Napoli), Moses Simon (Nantes), Sadiq Umar (Real Sociedad)



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