Dubbed the “Giants of Africa”, Nigeria is among the most established footballing nations in Africa. Their national team, (the Super Eagles) has claimed the continental title four times and regularly qualified for the World Cup. Here are Nigeria’s top 5 football players to watch in 2022.
Joe Aribo – Rangers FC
After slowly starting his career on loan in low-tier English teams like Charlton Athletic and Staines Town, the London-born Nigerian midfielder Joe Aribo is now playing Rangers FC. The Nigerian-native became a key part of the Scottish powerhouse and was instrumental in the team’s last season’s title run.
Joe Aribo is currently in the third season with the Rangers and his talents are still growing. Some experts have started comparing the Rangers star to former Nigerian sensation Jay-Jay Okocha, who dazzled European football fans and, the enthusiasts of the Nigerian sports bettors site, during his prime years.
Maduka Okoye – Sparta Rotterdam
The Nigerian Super Eagles always manage to find strong and reliable goalkeepers and Maduka Okoye is no different. The Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper started his career in Germany, but it didn’t take long before making his way to the Dutch side.
After joining Sparta Rotterdam, Okoye didn’t take long to become among the best goalkeepers in Eredivisie. The 22-year-old was signed by Watford in November last year, but he’s still with Sparta on loan until the end of the 2021/2022 season. The future looks quite promising for Maduka and it will be interesting to how he performs with the premier league side.
Victor Osimhen – Napoli
Nigeria has many attackers they can use when they need a formidable attacking force against any team. However, even with the best player pairings and strategy, it’s fair to say their best bet at striking and scoring goals remains with the Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.
Looking at Osimhen’s numbers, you’ll understand why the Italian powerhouse is becoming among the most desired attackers in Europe. The 23-year-old started his career in Germany with Wolfsburg, before joining Napoli in 2020 after spells in Charleloi and Lille. He has scored a total of 22 goals in 45 matches for Napoli in league competitions since joining them.
Samuel Chukwueze – Villareal
A young Nigerian winger, Samuel Chukwueze has had an incredible journey in his football career. Samuel made his debut in senior football with Villareal in 2018, scoring his team’s second goal against Athletic Bilbao. He scored two goals in 11 games during his first season and later replaced Nicola Samsone in the first team.
Chukwueze has become instrumental in Villareal since making his debut to the first team, helping them disappoint various opponents. This year, he scored the equalizer goal against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, which saw Villareal reach the semi-finals.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester City
Nicknamed “senior man”, Kelechi Iheanacho has proven to be a great footballer in recent years. Iheanacho joined Leicester from Manchester City in 2017, where he had scored 12 goals in 46 appearances. Today, Iheanacho has scored 24 goals in 117 appearances with Leicester in all competitions, but his recent performance is admirable.
Leicester and Iheanacho opened the 2021/2022 season against Manchester City in the FA Community Shield competition, where he scored the winning goal after being substituted in the 79th minute. However, Iheanacho has only scored three goals in the 2021/2022 season. Nonetheless, Iheanacho still has a lot to offer the footballing world this year.