ALT-Super Eagles: Bukayo Saka, other Nigerian-born Players who’d have Featured at AFCON

In terms of pedigree, this match is the classic David vs Goliath duel. Three-time champions versus one of the most impressive and most improved surprise packages of the Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, tournament in Cote d’Ivoire.

On Friday evening, when the Super Eagles of Nigeria battle for bragging rights with the Palancas Negras of Angola at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, there will be a few surprises.

AS Monaco and Super Eagles wonderkid, Folarin Balogun, is the leading goal scorer of the competition with six goals, one a brilliant solo in the Round of 16 against Cameroon.

The other was a delightful team goal orchestrated by football maestros. It started with a mazy run from the centre circle by Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze who sent a beautiful pass to Bayern Munich dynamo Jamal Musiala, who then found Bukayo Saka on the right wing.

The Arsenal star dribbled past two defenders at the edge of the opponent’s 18-yard box. Saka’s exquisite chip found Balogun’s boot, and it unleashed a beautiful left volley that already screamed goal before it nestled at the far right of the Cameroon goalkeeper’s net. Indeed, it was a goal that was conjured in England, made in Germany and delivered by the USA.

On paper, the Super Eagles have a lethal squad with an attacking 4-3-3 formation. Real Madrid’s David Alaba, AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, Manchester City’s Manuel Akanji and West Ham’s Angelo Ogbonna make up a fearsome defence. Former Chelsea and current Luton Town’s Ross Barkley, Eze and Borussia Dortmund’s Karim Adeyemi make up a genius midfield. In AFCON, Saka has channeled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring fine goals as a winger, with striker Balogun also rediscovering his form in the tournament.

With AS Roma Tammy Abraham out injured, Balogun has been a perfect replacement in the Super Eagles attacking lineup that includes AC Milan’s Noah Okafor and Bournemouth striker, Dominic Solanke. Also, having kept a clean sheet so far, SC Freiburg’s Noah Atubolu is in prime position to win the Goalkeeper of the tournament.

Sorry, I think I may have got you lost in the Alt-Super Eagles universe.

This is the Alt-quarter final of the AFCON, featuring an ALT-Super Eagles team made up of wholly Nigerians in Diaspora who, being Nigerian-born or with Nigerian parentage, could have played for the senior national team, but are currently playing for other countries.

Imagine an ALT-Super Eagles with these Nigerian born players in the 25-man squad.

Actually, the real Super Eagles, who are also brimming with talents, are set to play Angola in the quarter-finals on Friday in Abidjan. They are still on course to win a fourth AFCON title.

But imagine a Super Eagles with these Alt-players. You could call it our Nigerians in Diaspora team, coached by a bench that includes Emmanuel Olisadebe, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gabby Agbonlahor.

Here’s my list of the ALT-Super Eagles (Diaspora) team:

Formation (4-3-3)


Noah Atubolu – Germany


David Alaba – Real Madrid and Austria

Fikayo Tomori – AC Milan and England

Angelo Ogbonna – West Ham United and Italy

Manuel Akanji – Manchester City and Switzerland


Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace and England

Ross Barkley – Luton Town and England

Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich and Germany


Karim Adeyemi – Borussia Dortmund and Germany

Bukayo Saka – Arsenal and England

Folarin Balogun – AS Monaco and USA


Elijah Adebayo – Luton Town and England

Ike Ugbo – Sheffield Wednesday and Canada

Samuel Adekugbe – Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Canada

Arthur Chukwuezugo Okonkwo – Wrexham (on loan from Arsenal) and England

George Oluwaseun Bello – LASK and USA

Michael Akpovie Olise – Crystal Palace and England/France

Daryl Enyinnaya Dike – West Bromwich Albion and USA

Noah Okafor – AC Milan and Switzerland

Oviemuno Ejaria – Reading and England

Dele Alli – Everton and England (attacking midfielder)

Owen Olamidayo Goodman – Crystal Palace (loaned to Colchester) and England

Dominic Solanke – Bournemouth and England

Carney Chukwuemeka – Chelsea and England

Tammy Abraham – AS Roma and England


  • Arukaino Umukoro

    Arukaino is an award-winning writer and journalist, a recipient of the CNN/MultiChoice Africa Journalist of the Year Awards (Sports reporting)

Arukaino Umukoro

Arukaino is an award-winning writer and journalist, a recipient of the CNN/MultiChoice Africa Journalist of the Year Awards (Sports reporting)

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