Nigeria’s football team qualified for the summer Olympics in style when winning the Under-23 version of the African Cup of Nations. Super Eagles fans will be hoping their talented side can follow in the golden footsteps of the 1992 squad and lead Nigeria to glory in Rio.
Eyebrows were raised at Manchester City when they let Edin Dzeko move to Roma without signing a replacement, especially with Wilfired Bony looking so unsettled in Manchester since his switch from Swansea. Manuel Pellegrini had plenty of confidence that Kelechi would be able to step up if the team needed him and he was quickly proven right.
Iheanacho came off the bench to score the winner away at Crystal Palace on just his second league appearance. He soon moved above Bony in the City pecking order and Pellegrini even incorporated him into the starting line-up, alongside Sergio Aguero, on many occasions during the season.
He ended his debut Premier League campaign with eight goals from 26 appearances and plenty of eye-catching performances, which are sure to have impressed the incoming Pep Guardiola.
The Chelsea midfielder is set to be named as one of the three over-age players in the Olympic squad, after enjoying a long run in the Chelsea starting eleven when Guus Hiddink returned to Stamford Bridge for the second half of last season. He’s won 75 caps for the senior side and is currently the captain of his country. His composure, leadership and experience could be crucial in harnessing this very attacking Super Eagles side and his presence in the centre of their midfield will give the side some much needed bite and balance.
With the squad packed with plenty of attacking talent, the Genk central defender will be important in providing the team with a strong platform to build from. The former Tottenham Hotspurs youth player has enjoyed a highly successful loan period with Norwegian side FK Haugesand and even took over as club captain during the final few months. The 22 year old is very physically imposing, strong in the tackle and very quick across the ground. He will be hoping some solid performances in the tournament will help him break into the Genk first team next season.
Musa is your typical modern-day, attacking full back. He’s powerful, agile and full of stamina, capable of playing either at right-back, left-back or even cover in central defence. He became the first defender to claim the golden boot at the 2015 African Under-20 Championship, scoring four goals and leading his nation to the title. His talents haven’t gone unnoticed, with teams like Barcelona, Manchester United and Liverpool all being linked with a move for the 19 year old over the past few years. He made his debut for the Nigerian senior team in a friendly last month and will be hoping he has done enough to earn a spot in the starting line-up.
After enjoying a brilliant break-out season at Arsenal, Alex will be hoping to emulate his uncle and Nigerian football legend Jay-Jay Okocha in representing his country at the Olympic Games. Iwobi forced his way into the Arsenal starting line-up half way through the season, making an impressive Champions League debut away to Barcelona, before scoring on his first two Premier League starts against Watford and Everton. Iwobi’s emergence at Arsenal has led to many outlets, including bwin, reporting thatArsene Wenger is preparing to offload Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as part of a summer clear-out. His club aren’t keen on the 20 year old participating in the Olympics, but he clearly wants to be a part of the squad and some good performances in Rio could see him return to London with a lot of confidence and ready to battle for his Premier League place.