The Super Eagles squad for the AFCON will be released in a few weeks, and Akpoguma is optimistic about his chances
Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma admits that making Nigeria’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations squad will be tough but adds that he would be disappointed if he does not get an invite, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nigeria’s Super Eagles travel to Ivory Coast next year for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, and they will be looking to claim a fourth title.
A lot of fans have high expectations of the Super Eagles due to the abundance of quality in the Super Eagles squad. Nigeria have some of the players on the continent, and coach Jose Peseiro would have his work cut out when picking his 23-man squad.
Nonetheless, there are some players who are assured of a spot because of their quality and achievements. However, there are other stars whose chances are in the balance.
One of those players is Akpoguma. The German-born defender has not been invited to the Super Eagles squad since June this year, as Peseiro has opted for other center-backs.
The 28-year-old has no grudges however, as he believes that Peseiro’s decision to omit him from Nigeria’s squad has been mainly for tactical reasons. Still, he is hopeful that despite the number of players competing for his position, he gets a place in Nigeria’s squad.
“I don’t know[why I’ve not gotten a Super Eagles invitation recently], I think there are reasons, but I don’t think they are personal reasons,” Akpoguma told Soccernet.ng.
“If the coach invites me, I will come with pleasure and honour. I’ll be proud if I get an invitation from Nigeria. But I think it’s something about tactics, because there are a lot of players who are playing in my position like Semi Ajayi and Kenneth Omeruo who is very experienced.
“There is also Chidozie, who is experienced playing in Africa. I think those are the reasons why the coach is saying I need to be better there.”
Akpoguma has not exactly inspired much confidence since he started playing for Nigeria. He played for Germany at youth level, and switching to the African terrain has not been easy for him. Akpoguma understands this, but he insists that he will support the team whether he makes the cut or not.
“Its a big difference playing football in Europe and for the national team. You see the players we have, there is a lot of pressure from the fans and the nation. They see a bright future for all our players. Because they see the likes of Victor Osimhen and Boniface and what they are doing at their clubs.
“So, I think the coach is just trying to find the team and squad that can fit into the pressure outside of the pitch. If there’s no invitation, I will be disappointed, but everybody knows that whether I’m there or not, I will give my 100 percent because we are all Nigerians. I hope that Nigeria will go a long way,” Akpoguma added.