As we enter 2023, Nigeria proudly holds the “Giants of Africa” title in football. The Super Eagles, Nigeria’s national team, have achieved remarkable success, with four continental titles and consistent World Cup qualifications.
Five Nigerian football players are set to shine in 2023. These talented individuals possess immense skill and potential, captivating audiences with their performances on the field.
Alex Iwobi’s journey in the world of football began in Lagos, Nigeria. At the age of four, he moved to the UK. This was followed by a brief stint in Turkey before growing up in Newham, London. Interestingly, his uncle is the renowned former footballer Jay-Jay Okocha, adding a touch of family connection to his career.
Starting his professional career at Arsenal, Iwobi left an impressive mark with 149 appearances and 15 goals. His time at Arsenal included memorable achievements like winning the FA Cup in 2017 and scoring in the thrilling UEFA Europa League Final in 2019. Eventually, in August 2019, he made a significant move to Everton, joining the club for a noteworthy initial fee of £28 million.
While representing England at the under-18 level, Iwobi later decided to play for Nigeria, his home country. He made his senior international debut for Nigeria in October 2015. He proudly represented his country in prestigious tournaments like the FIFA World Cup 2018 and the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019 and 2021. Nigeria secured a commendable third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Iwobi continues to dazzle on the field as a midfielder for Everton in the Premier League while also wearing the Nigerian national team jersey with pride. His journey from Lagos to London to become an integral part of the club and international football highlights his passion, dedication, and talent in the beautiful game.
Kelechi Iheanacho is a Nigerian football star from Onitsha who was born on October 3, 1996. His love for the game ignited at a tender age, catching the attention of Manchester City’s scouts in 2007. He embarked on an exciting adventure, joining the club’s youth academy, where his skills flourished, leading him to his unforgettable first-team debut in 2015.
While with Manchester City, Iheanacho showcased his talent in 20 appearances, netting an impressive 7 goals. But like any great athlete, challenges presented themselves, and consistent playing time proved elusive. Then, in 2017, a monumental shift occurred as he made the leap to Leicester City in a highly anticipated transfer, commanding a reported £25 million fee.
He has become a stand out player with his 30 goals scored in 91 appearances across all competitions. The 2022-2023 season brought him an extraordinary accolade: Leicester City’s Player of the Season, a testament to his remarkable impact on the team.
His story serves as an inspiration to aspiring footballers. It adds an exciting edge to the world of sports and betting, making him a player to watch with bated breath in the coming seasons.
Taiwo Awoniyi is a Nigerian football sensation born on August 12, 1997, in Ilorin, Nigeria. Awoniyi’s love for the beautiful game ignited at an early age. It caught the attention of none other than Liverpool scouts. 2012 he joined the Liverpool club youth academy, leading to his highly anticipated first-team debut in 2015. After a brief stint at Liverpool football club with 11 appearances and 1 goal, he embarked on loan adventures with FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Royal Excel Mouscron, KAA Gent, and Mainz 05.
Union Berlin recognised his talent and secured his permanent transfer in 2020. In the 2021-2022 season, Awoniyi showcased his prowess by scoring an impressive 15 goals in 31 Bundesliga appearances. Taiwo is a force to be reckoned with and has made his mark internationally. He represented Nigeria and found the net 10 times in 27 games. Currently making waves on loan at Nottingham Forest, Awoniyi’s aspirations lie in becoming a top striker in the Premier League. This is all thanks to his sheer strength and remarkable finishing skills.
Victor Osimhen was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 29, 1998, playing football from a young age. Osimhem was scouted by VfL Wolfsburg, joined its youth academy in 2015, and made his first-team debut in 2017. Despite limited opportunities, he showcased his skills on loan at Charleroi, scoring 10 goals and lifting the Belgian Cup. Lille recognised his potential, signing him for €12 million. Osimhen’s impact was immediate, as he netted 18 goals, contributing to Lille’s Ligue 1 triumph.
Napoli secured his services for €70 million, and Osimhen’s goal-scoring prowess continued in Serie A with 14 goals. A force in the Nigerian national team, he has scored 10 goals in 22 appearances. At just 24, Osimhen’s future shines bright. In the 2022-2023 season, he tallied an impressive 24 goals, securing the Serie A Player of the Season title. A powerful striker adept at creating chances and finishing with precision, Osimhen is destined to become one of the world’s top strikers.
Wilfred Ndidi was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on December 16, 1996. His passion for the sport ignited at a young age, capturing the attention of KRC Genk scouts. Joining the KRC Genk youth academy in 2013, Ndidi rapidly climbed the ranks and finally made his mark in the first team in 2015.
Transitioning to the senior stage, Ndidi showcased his skills in 100 appearances for Genk, netting 6 goals along the way. His exceptional performances earned him the prestigious Belgian Pro League Young Player of the Year in 2017.
In an unusual move, Leicester City secured Ndidi’s signature in 2017, making a substantial £17 million investment. With over 200 appearances and 7 goals for Leicester City, Ndidi’s impact on the field is undeniable.
Representing his nation with pride, Ndidi has donned the Nigerian jersey at various levels, including the triumphant 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup campaign. Ndidi contributed 4 goals across 42 appearances for the national team.
Ndidi’s exceptional abilities as a defensive midfielder are widely recognised. Additionally, his impeccable tackling, remarkable passing range, and athleticism make him a force to be reckoned with. Beyond his defensive prowess, At only 26 years old, he possesses an immense potential, and his star continues to rise in African football. Expect Ndidi to make a lasting impact in the game for years to come!