Gone are those days in the Nigeria national team, when the number nine position was a keenly contested position, and also had great players whom couldn’t even lay claim to the starting eleven in the team due to the flocks of talents in that position, but the players were joy to watch in their various clubs in Europe and in the Nigeria League.
Chronologically looking at the abundant of Nigerian strikers spread all over Europe, few are consistent, while others hardly make the starting line-up for their respective clubs. The players in the review are all reliable strikers that the coach could put trust on, in case Super Eagle’s hottest property in Lille lower his guard, lose a form or got injured, the coach won’t be short of goal poachers who could deliver when called upon.
Today, we will be taking a look at four players that could possibly rival Osimhen for the number 9 spot.
Club: Heracles Almelo
One thing that is very glaring to the eyes is that Nigeria born players are spread all across the World, critically the European Countries, and among them is Cyriel Dessers, born in Leuven Belgium to a Belgian father and a Nigerian mother.
Dessers started his career as a youth player in the 2013-14 season as a 19year old, with the reserves of Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Dessers stood out with his eyes for goals and his performance in the youth competitions for the team scoring over 20 goals.
At the brink of OH Leuven in danger of being relegated, and several first-team strikers either out of shape, injured or suspended, Dessers got his first opportunity to play for the first team in a 3-2 away loss against Mons.
Dessers also had a stint with Lokreen when he signed a two year deal with the team 2014. In July 2016 he signed with NAC Breda on a contract until summer 2019, a club in the Dutch second-tier Eerste Divisie.
The following season Dessers helped his team secure promotion to the Eredivisie, after a 1-4 victory over N.E.C, Dessers was on fire in that match as he went on to score 3 goals, and finished the season with 29 goals in 40 matches.
That performance got Dessers a move to FC Utrecht, signed a three years contract with an option for an additional year, and went on to score the first goal in the competition. His outstanding performance for FC Utrecht was top-notch, and that got him a move to Heracles Almelo, and since then Dessers has been firing from all cylinders in the Eredivise.
He also helped his team Heracles Almelo to qualified for the third round of the TOTO KNVB Cup following their comprehensive and brilliant performance against Dordrecht in a match they won 3-0 on Wednesday.
Cyriel Dessers also won the Dutch Eredivisie Player of the Month award for the month of November, hasn’t shunned out great performance against his team opponents and also doing great in the League.
So far this season, the Belgian born forward now has a hand in 20 goals, with 14 goals, and 6 assists in 19 appearances across all competitions this season, a performance which is a testament to the fact if he gets the opportunity to don Green White Jersey he would prove his worth and also be very decisive in front of goal for the National Team.
The forward did say in his statement that “He already been contacted by the NFF, after his match against ADO Den Haag, he said an official from Nigeria sent him a message that he was doing well,”
If the forward statement were anything to go by, then it shows if, given the opportunity, he would gladly grab it with both hands.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would unfold, but then Cyriel Dessers has shown beyond doubt that he could rival Victor Osimhen if he lowers his guard.
Club: Slavia Prague
The Nigerian forward Olayinka who currently plies his trade with Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic, his also one of the players that could rival Victor Osimhen for the number nine position.
Olayinka has shown he can deliver on the big stage in the world of football, case in point was his top-notch performance against Barcelona and securing a win for his team against Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Peter Olayinka did had stint with various clubs in Europe, among those clubs are Skenderbau, where he played 33 matches in all competitions and he scored 16 goals in 2014-16, played for KAA Gent in 2016-18, but he didn’t find joy while playing for the Belgian side, which led to a loan move for him to Dukla Prague, played 29 matches, in 2017-18, he also went on loan to Zulte Waregem, played 35 matches in all competitions.
In 2018 Slavia Prague signed Olayinka on a four-year contract from KAA Gent in a deal that worth €3,200,000. Since he joined Červenobílí, he has been doing quite well for himself and his team.
This season Olayinka has played close to 39 matches in all competitions, and he has scored 10 goals, a brilliant performance which made him be invited by the National team coach Gernot Rohr.
Prior to his invitation, because of his talent, there were numerous discussions and rumors that he could play for a foreign team, which was the Albania National Football Team. Olayinka himself did say his willingness to play for Albania is if he got the Albanian passport, but in the end, he didn’t.
However, in September 2019, he was invited for an international friendly match between Nigeria and Brazil. Ever since then, he had been a regular in the national team squad, though he hasn’t got plenty time to showcase what he could do, but with what the coach of the team saw in him, he’s one of those players that could rival Victor Osimhen for the number nine position if he stays consistent and in form.
Name: Emmanuel Dennis
Club: Club Brugge
Another great talent that could rival Victor Osimhen for the number nine position in the National Team is no other than Emmanuel Dennis, the Club Brugge forward has shown to the world and the team coach he can deliver when given the chance to lead the attack of the Eagles.
Dennis brilliant performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League group stage first leg when he scored twice in a 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.
Dennis also represented Nigeria at U15 and U23 level, Dennis also made his debut for the senior team on the 10th September 2019 in a 2-2 friendly match against Ukraine, coming on as an 82nd-minute substitute for Samuel Chukwueze.
If Dennis stays consistent and in form, he could be one of the go-to men for Gernot Rohr and the national team, however, only time would determine.
Club: Club Brugge
David Okereke made his professional debut in Italy, with Spezia Seria B side in 2016, in a game against Novara, his performance for Spezia during his spell with them were being monitored by some of the big clubs in Europe, in 2018-19 season, he scored 10 goals and 12 assists in 33 games for the Seria B side.
Haven’t performed well for the Seria B side, that got him the move to one of the biggest, if not the biggest club in Belgium Club Brugge. In July 2019, Okereke signed a four-year contract with Club Brugge,
So far this season David Okereke has played 16 games in all competitions, and he has scored 7 goals for the Belgian side, despite the abundance of talents in the team front line of the Belgian side, with the likes of South African Percy Tau, and fellow countryman Emmanuel Dennis, Okereke has been able to lay claim to a spot in the team, his form and consistencies got him a late invite to the National Team.
In March 2019, Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr handed David Okereke his first invitation to the team for the international friendly match against the Pharaohs of Egypt, Okereke also did well by scoring the fourth goal in Nigeria’s U23 Eagles 4-0 thrashing of Libya.
However it’s left to be seen how things would unfold in the future, but then, they must all keep banging in the goals, remain consistent for the coach to always give them a look in when it’s time to turn up for the National Team.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big Elsewhere
The English Premier League has welcomed some of the best players in the history of football. Players from different continents have made a huge impact on the league with impressive performances. There are others who failed to impress and can be termed as flops.
The League is quite unique from other European leagues. It is more competitive, fierce, physically challenging in nature. Needless to say, a player who isn’t mentally and physically geared up for this will stumble under the pressure.
Established stars can fall by the wayside with their former successes and triumphs becoming nothing more than a footnote in the EPL. Impressively, some of these players put in impressive performances when they moved to other leagues.
3 Premier League Flops Who Made It Big In Other Leagues
Following the impending sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Tottenham bought several players, one of the players they bought was Paulinho.
Paulinho was signed from Corinthians in Brazil where he helped them win the Copa Libertadores, Brasileirao, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They defeated Chelsea in the latter to lift the trophy. Importantly, he had just won the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil and was voted as the third-best player at the tournament.
He joined Tottenham as the club’s record signing in 2013, so a lot was expected of him. However, his performance was not as impressive as the club had envisaged. He was later sold to Guangzhou Evergrande in China at a loss.
The Brazilian’s transfer to the Chinese league resulted in a change of fortunes, as helped the club claim the Chinese league and the AFC Champions League title in his first season.
In the second, he was voted into the Chinese League team of the year in recognition of his performance. Also, he won the league, FA Cup, and Super Cup.
Although critics downplayed his performance, citing the standard of the Chinese league compared to the English league, Paulinho impressed in Spain too following a €40 million move to Barcelona.
Paulinho helped the club claim the league and the Copa del Rey trophy. His performance in his only season with Barcelona impressed Ronaldinho who said: “He really stood out.”
- Iago Aspas
Most Premier League fan remembers Aspas only as a Liverpool flop with the number 9 jersey. Aspas moved from boyhood club Celta Vigo to Liverpool for a deal estimated to be around £7.7 m, with Liverpool hoping to have unearthed a gem. However, that gem turns dregs, failing to score in any of his 14 league appearances.
After just one season, Liverpool decided that they have seen enough so they sent him on a season-long loan to Sevilla with an obligation to buy. In his season-long loan at the club, he was the joint top scorer in the Copa del Rey alongside Neymar with 7 goals and won the UEFA Europa League.
At the end of his season-long loan at Sevilla, the club signed him from Liverpool but sold him to Celta Vigo in the same transfer window. In every of his first 5 seasons at Celta Vigo, he scored in double digits.
In fact, in three of the 5 seasons, he won the Zarra Trophy awarded to the Spanish player with the most league goals in a season. As of December 2020, Aspas had won La Liga player of the month four times.
- Diego Forlan
Perhaps, the most notable and interesting English Premier League flop who became a star in another League. He was not just impressive in another league; he was extraordinary with his National team Uruguay.
Sir Alex Ferguson signed Forlan in 2001 following the attacker’s impressive form at Independiente in Argentina. In his first season in England, Forlan made 18 appearances but failed to score a single goal. The two seasons after were not impressive either, hence his transfer to Villarreal.
Impressively, Forlan scored 25 league goals in his first season with Villarreal and won the league’s top scorers award (2004/05). Also, he was awarded the European Golden Shoe award alongside Thierry Henry the same year. He left the club two seasons later for Atletico with 59 goals scored in 128 matches.
In his second season with Atletico Madrid (2008/09), Forlan beat Samuel Eto’o to the Spanish league’s top scorer’s award. He scored 32 league goals in 33 league appearances that season which earned him the Pichichi trophy. Again, he won the European Golden Shoe but this time it was not shared with anyone.
The next season (2009/10), Forlan played a key role as Atletico won the Europa League. He scored six times in the tournament, including two in the 2-1 win over Fulham in the final. He was voted as the man of the match in the final.
With his national team, he was just as impressive; he scored the most goals at the 2010 FIFA World Cup alongside Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, and David Villa.
Furthermore, he was voted into the FIFA World Cup dream team and won the Golden Ball and goal of the tournament title. By the time he retired, he was Uruguay’s highest goal scorer in history, a record which has since been broken by Luis Suarez.
Forlan eventually became so good that some Football fans think he is the caliber of player that could have won the Ballon d’Or.
There are several reasons why players struggle when they change clubs, especially to other countries. Culture, language, teammates, family are some factors that can affect their performances.
These 3 cases show that a player may fail to perform in one league but go on to become a star in another league.