It’s a question that at first blush feels wild, almost absurd: could Toronto FC forward Bright Dike make his way onto the Nigeria roster for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil?
Could a player whose played for three American clubs in four years — and didn’t make his Nigerian senior team bow until he was 25 — be in Stephen Keshi’s plans for the Super Eagles time on the world’s biggest stage?
He’s cleared another hurdle, making the roster for Nigeria’s March 5 friendly on American soil against Mexico. Dike, he of the seven strikes in 30 MLS appereances, is one of eight listed forwards on the roster but one of only a select few true strikers.
Of those forwards, several have a more pronounced pedigree than Dike. Newcastle United veteran Shola Ameobi has broken back into the Keshi’s squad, while Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona) and Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce) have shown well. Michael Uchebo and Imoh Ezekiel have yet to play for the senior team.
Some usual suspects are outside the squad: Obafemi Martins and his 18 international goals won’t be there, nor will Dynamo Kyiv’s Brown Ideye.
So it seems this is a legit opportunity for Dike to impress and not just a cursory look. Dike scored against Italy in November and has one goal in two official caps. He also scored in an unofficial match against Catalonia.