Manager Jose Peseiro has disclosed the lineup for the crucial 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal against South Africa, with the notable absence of Zaidu Sanusi due to fitness concerns.
During the media-accessible segment of the last training session, Sanusi's non-participation raised doubts about his availability for the crucial clash. These concerns have now been validated as Zaidu is omitted for the second time in the tournament. The starting lineup features goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali supported by a defensive trio of Semi Ajayi, William Troost-Ekong, and Calvin Bassey.
Frank Onyeka, overcoming a shoulder injury that led to his substitution against Angola, earns his sixth consecutive start in the number 6 role. Joining him in midfield are Alex Iwobi, Bright Osayi-Samuel, and Ola Aina. The attacking trio comprises Victor Osimhen, reigning African Footballer of the Year, flanked by Ademola Lookman and Moses Simon.
The omission of Zaidu Sanusi, a Porto defender, is a significant development, adding an element of uncertainty to the Super Eagles' defensive setup. With fitness issues sidelining Sanusi, Peseiro has chosen a lineup that aims to address defensive stability while maintaining an attacking threat.
As the Super Eagles prepare for the semifinal showdown, the absence of Zaidu Sanusi underscores the team's adaptability and the depth of the squad. The starting XI reflects a strategic approach, balancing defensive resilience and offensive firepower. The stage is set for a highly anticipated clash between Nigeria and South Africa, with both teams vying for a spot in the Africa Cup of Nations final.