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IGHALO NIGERIA’S TOP PERFORMER IN 2014/2015 SEASON

By Johnny Edward and James Agberebi

ENGLAND
Watford’s Odion Ighalo is without a doubt the best Nigerian player of the 2014-15 season. The 25-year-old topped the ranking of Nigerian strikers in Europe’s major leagues, and his 20 goals in only 22 league starts this season mean that he ends the year joint-fourth in the Championship scoring charts as Watford secured an automatic promotion to the Premier League.

John Mikel Obi maintained his sub-role for Chelsea this season as the Blues lifted the EPL title after five years.
It was Mikel’s second EPL title in seven years at the club. He made only six starts in 18 EPL appearances but was dropped from the national team side to face Chad next Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether Mikel’s long-anticipated departure from West London will come to pass this summer.

Chelsea loanee Victor Moses was instrumental in Stoke City’s success story this season. The father of two scored four times in 19 games for the Britannia side which finished a record ninth on the EPL log, achieving their highest-ever points tally in the Premier League era.

Moses—revived following a miserable loan spell at Anfield, rediscovered his form at the Britannia Stadium which has Mark Hughes leaving the doors open for his return in the summer.

Also, Peter Odemwingie played his part in a magnificent campaign for Stoke City. Despite staying out injured for eight months and his current deal running out in the summer, the 33 year old was retained by the club for next season.

Brown Ideye failed to match his huge transfer fee with the performance expected of him when he joined West Brom for a reported club-record transfer fee of £10 million.

The Nigerian international enjoyed a purple patch in February under new boss Tony Pulis, scoring six goals in four games in all competition but the goals have since dried up. It remains to be seen whether the Baggies will look to cut their losses this summer.

IDEYE was left out of Keshi’s squad.

His compatriot Victor Anichebe also had a lethargic season. He could only manage three goals in 21 games.

Shola Ameobi returned to the EPL with Crystal Palace after his spell in Turkey but was been a peripheral figure this season during the club’s successful (second-half to the) campaign under Alan Pardew.

Finally, Sone Aluko was the only Super Eagles star who dropped out of the top flight following miserable campaigns.

The much maligned Aluko managed to make 25 Premier League appearances with a goal —the most he’s managed in a campaign since 2010-11.

FRANCE
PSG domestic quadruple was the high point of the out-going French Ligue 1 season but Elderson Echiejile and AS Monaco will look back on a decent season which was almost ruined by an insipid start.
Playing second fiddle to Layvin Kurzawa, the Nigerian international was limited to only 12 appearances in Ligue 1 with a goal to his name as the Monegasques finished third.
The 27 year old was a top performer each time he got the chance to feature and that was evident in games against Bayer Leverkusen at home and Arsenal in their first-leg triumph at the Emirates of the UEFA Champions League. He was left out of Stephen Keshi’s 15 man foreign-based squad for next Saturday’s AFCON
qualifier against Chad.
Vincent Enyeama’s performance for Lille was below par this season, considering his feat last year although he churned out his own fair share of outstanding performances for Lille who ended eight.
In goal for Lille, Enyeama conceded 42 goals, 16 more than he conceded last season when he won the Marc-Vivien Foé Award for the best African player in the French Ligue 1.

SPAIN
It was a mixed season for the trio of Ikechukwu Uche, Kalu Uche and Ramon Azeez in Spain.
While the Uche brothers club status in the La Liga remains, same cannot be said of Azeez’s Almeria who failed to beat the drop.
Ike Uche’s season was marred with injuries and that was evident in his output in front of goals as he could only manage six goals in 23 games compared to last year, when he scored 14 league goals in 31 games.
His elder brother Kalu Uche, returned back to the La Liga in January after stints in Turkey and Qatar.
‘Senegal’ found the back of the net five times in 16 games as Levante survived the drop despite battling survival all through the season.
While for Azeez, the past season will be one to forget. Last season’s young player of the year award winner at Almeria, Azeez was a shadow of the player who starred at the World Cup and attracted interests from EPL teams suiting only 14 times. The Segunda division should be the place to make up for lost grounds, after he appeared to have a world of potential stretching out ahead of him.

GERMANY
Anthony Ujah emerged as Africa’s second top scorer in the Bundesliga behind Gabonese international,
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang with ten goals. Ujah who joins Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen next season, will be remembered for celebrating his strike in Koln’s victory over Eintracht Frankfurt with club mascot Hennes the goat.
Darmstadt 98 Nigerian defender, Leon Balogun scored four goals in 21 games as the ‘The Lillies’ gained promotion to the Bundesliga. He is poised for his fourth cap against Chad next Saturday.

Portugal
Anderson Esiti may not be well known to Nigerians but his exploits this season for Europa League campaigners, Estoril Praia,
have not gone unnoticed. The former Leixoes midfielder played 17 times in his debut season in the Portuguese league for his side who finished 12th on the log. He has been called up to the national team for the game against Chad.

Slovakia
Rabiu Ibrahim who spent the better part of the first half of the season on the treatment table but managed to feature 17 times as AS Trencin emerged champions of Slovakia. Shockingly, Rabiu played all 90 minutes thrice while he was substituted five times and introduced nine times, raising doubts about his fitness.
His compatriot Kingsley Madu scored twice from 15 starts from his left back role, to earn a shock invitation to the Super Eagles squad.

Holland
William Troost-Ekong was part of the Dordrecht defence line that finished the season with by far the worst defence in the Eredivisie, conceding 76 goals.
The 21 year old centre-back whose deal with Groningen expires this summer, played 22 times for his club. He has been included in Nigeria’s squad for Chad.

ITALY
Ogenyi Onazi saved his best moments of the season for Lazio on the last of the 2014-15 campaign Serie A campaign,
when he came off the bench to score his first goal of the season as the Bianconeri defeated Napoli 4-2 to secure a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League qualifying round.
Onazi who has been in and out of the team this term,
chalked up 16 Serie A appearances for Stephan Pioli’s side. Joel Obi could only manage 11 appearance albeit scoring one goal for Inter Milan.
Nigerian striker, Jerry Mbakogu’s rise to the top has been ultra fast,
given that, just six years ago, he was playing in Serie D. Since then he has helped his teams Padova and Capri pull off four promotions: first going up to Lega Pro Division 2, then Lega Pro Division 1, then Serie B two years ago and now the pinnacle of Serie A.
With 15 goals to his name this season, Mbakogu will be looking to continue his good form in the top flight division.

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One Comments

  1. Reply Post By AGHRI Emmanuel

    Sunday olisea is de right coach for eagle.

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