As Nigeria move on from the World Cup and turn their attention towards the African Cup of Nations, there will doubtless be a measure of post-tournament restructuring.
In the young and emerging Super Eagles, there are several players whose consistency has been questioned and who may now find their positions under threat.
In this feature, KweséESPN profile five players who may well have a big part to play as the Eagles look to move on from the World Cup – and we name the players whose positions may be under threat due to the new faces.
Dele Alampasu might have fallen off the international radar in the past eight months due to his inactivity at club level, but he still has a future in the team if he can get enough club minutes under his belt.
Certainly, Alampasu now finds himself lower down in the pecking order after the elevation of Francis Uzoho, but the 21-year-old has the quality to unseat either Ikechukwu Ezenwa or Daniel Akpeyi to take the role as the wonderkid’s understudy.
Ola Aina might have narrowly lost out on securing a place on the plane to Russia due to the emergence of Brian Idowu, but that minor setback should spur the 21-year-old on.
He’s comfortable in either full-back position, and with experience, will doubtless rise in prominence among the full-backs.
His versatility is an asset, and with Elderson Echiejile now 30, and having been ignored during the tournament, his spot looks vulnerable.
Kelechi Nwakali could finally make his long awaited full international debut for Nigeria in the coming months, but first, he needs to sort out his immediate future at Arsenal and get adequate game time in the coming season.
Nwakali gave a glimpse of what could be expected of him with his five-star performance and stunning goal for the Super Eagles’ B team against Atletico Madrid in May.
The tactically disciplined 20-year-old midfielder isn’t only comfortable playing through the middle, but also on the right side of midfield, and he can represent a versatile asset for Rohr.
If Nwakali, captain of the FIFA U-17 title-winning side of 2015, can successfully make the transition from the age-grade team to the Super Eagles, then Nigeria could just have unearthed a worthy successor to John Obi Mikel.
Chidiebere Nwakali: The elder of the Nwakali brothers, Chidiebere might have taken a bit longer to make the grade at international level compared to some of his teamates from the Golden Eaglets’ class of 2013.
However, the Manchester City starlet might just be arriving in time to play a leading role for the Super Eagles moving forward.
Nwakali is a skilful player, whose primary role is defensive midfield, but he has been deployed in various positions due to his immense work rate, confidence and versatility.
However, what the 21-year-old ought to do is consider Kenneth Omeruo’s situation at Chelsea and decide whether it’s conducive to his career to continually be loaned out without playing for his parent club.
Olarenwaju Kayode: But for an ill-timed transfer to Manchester City from Austria Vienna in a World Cup year, Kayode might have made Nigeria’s World Cup squad.
His subsequent loan move to Girona may not have worked out, but the 25-year-old is a thoroughbred who has come through the age ranks for Nigeria and offers speed, technical quality, tactical awareness and – most importantly – a finishing touch.
A permanent transfer to Shakhtar Donetsk at the start of June could prompt a fresh start for the two-cap international. If he returns to his best, he should stake a claim for a regular spot in the side.