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Nigeria: Peseiro makes surprise squad omission ahead of AFCON qualifiers

Taiwo Awoniyi at Nigeria
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The Super Eagles are preparing to kick-start the AFCON qualifiers with a match against Sierra Leone.

Nigeria manager Jose Peseiro has left Taiwo Awoniyi out of his 27-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Awoniyi spent a brilliant season at Union Berlin last season, topping our ranking of the best African players in the German top-flight.

Having scored 15 goals in his 31 appearances for the Berliners, Awoniyi has scored more than any other Nigerian star in Europe’s top five leagues.

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“The national team is open for everybody,” Peseiro said after announcing his squad.

“Players who play locally, and outside the country. The ones from the academy, it’s open for everyone. But they need to know, that first, they need to have quality. Second, demand and third, passion. If they can have these three points, they can play here.

“Of course we have many players, not only eleven, we have twenty, thirty, forty. We have many players to choose from.”

Nigeria have lost both of their first two games under Peseiro. The Super Eagles have played with the attacking Terem Moffi and Cyriel Dessers against Mexico and Ecuador.

Dessers has come to the national team on the back of his impressive campaign at Feyenoord. On the other hand, Moffi registered eight goals and four assists at Ligue 1 side Lorient last season.

Nigeria will face Sierra Leone in their first group-stage game of the AFCON qualifiers on Thursday.