Super Eagles: Cyril Dessers, Zaidu Sanusi among 6 Nigerian players who made their debuts in 2020

Super Eagles: Cyril Dessers, Zaidu Sanusi among 6 Nigerian players who made their debuts in 2020

- Super Eagles of Nigeria played two friendlies in October against Algeria and Tunisia

- The Nigerian national team also played AFCON qualifying double-header against Sierra Leone

- Cyriel Dessers, Zaidu Sanusi are among six stars who made their debut for Gernot Rohr’s team in 2020

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Although many have referred to the year 2020 as a strange one, it was a period which was eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic, but some promising footballers made their debut for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

Sports in general, especially football, was dealt a huge blow as activities, events and competitions were postponed until a later date due to the effect of the pandemic.

However, some players made history in the colours of Nigeria, despite that the national team didn’t converge until October when they played two friendlies in Austria.

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Nigeria’s first match in the year was against reigning AFCON kings on October 9 which they lost 1-0 before their 1-1 draw with Tunisia four days later.

In November, the Super Eagles also took on Sierra Leone in a double-header clash as the AFCON 2021 series continued – with the first leg in Benin ending in a 4-4 draw, while the reverse fixture in Freetown ended goallessly.

Here are 6 players who made their debuts for Nigeria in 2020

1. Cyriel Dessers

The 23-year-old first earned his international call up to the Nigeria senior national team on March 4 as he was named by coach Gernot Rohr as part of the team players invited for the African Cup of Nations qualifying fixtures against the Sierra leone National football team.

That match was postponed until November, but he debuted for Nigeria in a friendly 1-1 tie with Tunisia on October 13, and that was his only appearance so far.

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2. Frank Onyeka

On September 22, 2020, Onyeka was called up to the Nigeria senior team for the October friendlies against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria.

He played his first game for Nigeria in their 1-0 loss to the Desert Foxes of Algeria on October 9.

3. Zaidu Sanusi

The FC Porto defender has so far made an appearance for the Nigeria senior team. He was part of the Super Eagles squad that lost 1-0 to reigning African champions Algeria on October 9.

Super Eagles: Cyril Dessers, Zaidu Sanusi among 6 Nigerian players who made their debuts in 2020
Super Eagles star Zaidu Sanusi in action for FC Porto. Photo: Jose Manuel Alvarez
Source: Getty Images

4. Samson Tijani

He was part of the Golden Eaglets that played in the 2019 FIFA World Cup and went on to score a brace for Nigeria in the opening match against Hungry as they won 4-2.

He was invited into the senior national team and then made his debut in the friendly 1-0 loss to Algeria on October 9.

5. Kevin Akpoguma

The 25-year-old was born in Germany to a Nigerian father and a German mother. He has represented Germany at youth level, playing for the U16, U17, U18, U19, U20, and U21 teams, but opted to play for the Nigeria senior team in 2018.

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He made his debut in the 1-0 loss to Algeria on October 9 in Austria and has so far made two appearances.

6. Chidera Ejuke

The 22-year-old CSKA Moscow debuted for the Nigeria national team in a friendly 1–1 tie with Tunisia on October 13, having been invited by Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr.

Meanwhile, earlier reported that the Super Eagles of Nigeria have ended the year 2020 in 35th position as the world’s football governing body FIFA releases the final ranking for the year.

Nigeria's Super Eagles had in November slipped to 35th position following their unproductive AFCON 2022 qualifiers.

The three-time African giants were forced to back-to-back draws by the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

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