Thursday, May 23, 2013

Top Nigerian players in Europe this season


With the European league reaching its end for the season; it is about time to review some of the performances and contributions made by some of Nigeria’s top stars players in Europe.
Nigeria started off 2013 on a good note, winning this year’s African Cup of Nations can only be the beginning of better things to come as the competition not only ended what many prefer to call our dark days in football, but also exposed new and upcoming talents. The likes of Mba, Emenike, and Victor Moses really had their time to shine and they are still basking in that glory as their success in South Africa has apparently spurred them on in their various clubs.

1-Victor Moses: The 22-year-old Chelsea winger who transferred from Wigan Athletics became an instant hit with Chelsea.   Moses is able to play in a variety of position, however at Chelsea,  the Nigerian international is doing a fine job as a winger.
He scored four goals in the second-tier European competition, in total; the Chelsea winger who is valued at €15m has scored 8 goals for the Blues ever since his transfer last year.

Fellow Chelsea player John Obi Mikel continues to hold strong in the midfield, Mikel whose presence in the Super Eagles squad was very much needed in the very successful AFCON has also played a very important role in the Blues success this season. Although Mike was unable to play in the last six games including the Europa League semi-finals as well as the final due to an injury he sustained, we’re hoping that this Nigerian star who renewed his contract last year and will now be with the Blues till 2017 will soon return to join the rest of the team.

2- Danny Shittu: The big defender was rock solid in the heart of the Millwall defence and the London lions were at some point certain to gain promotion to the EPL until things began to fall apart.
Shittu did well for the team and even led them as captain to semi-final of FA Cup. The 32-year-old scored the winning goal away to Blackburn Rovers in March to put Millwall into the FA Cup semi-final— the first time since 2004 when they reached the final— against Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium.

3-Victor Anichebe: after some long-term injuries, Anichebe, once again played himself into the heart of Everton fans and ex-manager David Moyes with a series of superb displays as a super sub which eventually led him to bench Nikica Jelavic. 
He scored six goals in the EPL, a little short of the double digit figures he had hoped for.

4- Odion Ighalo, in Spain,  this former Flying Eagles captain and Granada forward  has proved to be Nigeria’s best performer in the La Liga after the departure of Obafemi Martins to the MLS. The 21-year-old has five goals to his credit, the latest, a winner against Malaga la. He was a thorn in the flesh of the big sides Barcelona and Real Madrid, scoring against the latter.

5-Kalu Uche of Kasimpasa emerged Nigeria’s highest scorer in Europe this season. The former Spain-based midfielder is second top scorer in Turkey with 19 goals, thus making a case for a return back to the national team.

6- Ahmed Musa, in Russia, the Nigerian international has been at his prolific best scoring 14 goals for CSKA Moscow in the Eastern European nation’s topflight league.

 Although it seems Spartak Moscow’s Emmanuel Emenike had a rather though year plagued mainly with injuries, his performance in both home and abroad has been outstanding. Emenike made a name for himself even after sustaining a hamstring injury during the Nations Cup, he eagerly joined the AFCON squad and from then on wasted no time in showcasing his talent which eventually made him 1 of  the top scorers at the AFCON competition with four sensational goals.
Emenike returned to training in March but he was left ruing his fate when he sustained another injury in April which eventually ruled him out of the season. 
The Nigerian international will be missing out on major World Cup qualifiers for Nigeria; however, he should be in good shape after his surgery in about 4 weeks.