Many players have come and gone in the Super Eagles Team, while some are still being remembered for their exploits in the National Team while some are without mincing words forgotten completely.
Such as many Nigerian offspring will live to hear and tell the stories of Nigeria’s greatest striker (Rashidi Yekini of blessed memory) for his heroics in the USA 94 World Cup becoming their first Nigerian Player to score at the FIFA World Cup – his epic celebration after netting the goal, crying while holding the net remains evergreen and has gone to become one of many historic moments of the FIFA World Cup.
Yekini who started his senior career at a Kaduna based club UNTL Kaduna (now defunct) before moving to Shooting Stars netted 37 times in 58 appearances for the Super Eagles is one of many players who made it to the Super Eagles directly from the NPFL. Sadly, Yekini has not celebrated the way a legend should be celebrated in football.
Many other players like Yekini got their places in the National team directly from the NPFL – Meaning that, NPFL has produced great footballers undoubtedly, but needs proper marketability and structure to become more attractive to players from the rest of the world. Yes! More players from the rest of the world.
Today Cheapgoals takes a look at some Nigerian players who made the NPFL a stepping stone to representing their country on the international scene. Some are clubless right now while some are retired.
The former Lobi Stars defender made his debut for the Super Eagles against Niger in a goalless friendly on 15 August 2012 before he was later selected for Nigeria’s 23 man squad by Stephen Keshi (Late) at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. Solomon Kwambe was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2014 African Nations Championship. He currently plays for FC Tulsa in the USL Championship.
Joseph is a product of the Pepsi Football Academy in Lagos. He first bagged a professional contract in April 2003 with Bendel United Football Club, a Division One club in Benin City before he later joined Bendel Insurance FC in the Premier Division of the Nigerian Professional League, in February 2005. The former Super Eagles player is currently clubless after his exit from Saudi Arabia outfit Al-Faisaly last year.
Perhaps the most loathed Nigerian goalkeeper right now. Agbim made his international debut for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Angola in January 2012. The Delta Force shot-stopper was selected for Nigeria’s squad at the 2013 AFCON as well as the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.
A player that some Nigerians will have to make a research about before getting to know a little about him has to be the AFCON 2013 decider, Sunday Mba. The former Nigerian attacking midfielder last played as a for Yeni Malatyaspor in Turkey. Currently clubless and looks forward to playing football again.
The current Super Eagles captain has gone on to attain greater heights with the round leather game having played for big teams in Europe like Leicester City, CSKA Moscow and the likes. He became the first Nigerian to score more than once in a FIFA World Cup game, after scoring twice at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil against Argentina and becomes Nigeria’s highest goal scorer at the World Cup when he scored twice against Iceland in the group stage game of the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
A defender (Left Back ) for the Super Eagles at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa seems to have faded away in the international scene after helping Nigeria to secure her 3rd AFCON title against Burkina Faso in 2013. The 29-year-old has been capped 39 times by Nigeria and currently searching for a new club, having ended his stint with Croatian club HNK Gorica.
He made his debut in 2002 against Kenya scoring the second goal in a 3-0 win. He was a participant at the 2002 FIFA World Cup playing against England in the last group stage match becoming the 3rd youngest player to ever play in the World Cup finals after Norman Whiteside and Samuel Eto’o. He played for a few clubs, including Shooting Stars, Grasshoppers Zürich (Switzerland), Hapoel Beer Sheva and Chamois Niortais in France. He retired from football in 2006 due to serious glaucoma. He is now totally blind in the right eye.
This Lafia born central defender has played club football for Nasarawa United, Yerima Strikers, Warri Wolves, KuPS and currently plays for SuperSports United. His first match for Nigeria was in 2012 and he has appeared in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. He was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 AFCON by Coach Stephen Keshi (Late). He was also selected for Nigeria’s squad at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 African Nations Championship.
Ejike is a left-winger with brilliant techniques and crazy footwork. He made his international debut for Nigeria in 2012 and has appeared in FIFA World Cup qualifying matches. He was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 African Cup of Nations. He was as well named in Nigeria’s squad for the 2014 African Nations Championship and was selected as the most valuable player of the tournament.
Apparently the most popular in this list; He’s currently Nigeria’s most capped player of all time with 101 caps to his name as well as many honors for himself. The Akwa Ibom born shot-stopper was in goal during Enyimba’s reign on the continent winning the NPFL in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively. As well as the CAF Champions League in 2003 and 2004. He played for the super eagles from 2002 to 2015 (13 years) and was forced to retire after the bust-up between him and the then Super Eagles Coach, Sunday Okechukwu Oliseh.
The late coach Keshi gave many players chances to showcase their talents, one of them is Kunle who made his debut for the Super Eagles at the age of 22. He was part of the Nigeria National Football Team squad for the 2014 African Nations Championship team, where he started every game and made the tournament’s Best XI as the team placed 3rd.
Juwon is part of the Super Eagles team that clinched the 2013 AFCON in South Africa. The 29-year-old has previously played for Kwara United, Lobi Stars, Sharks in Nigeria, Ashdod in Israel and Heart of Midlothian in Scotland. Having represented Nigerian at the World Cup, Juwon now plies his trade in the Nigeria Professional Football League with Akwa United.
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.
Top 10 Football Dribblers Of All Time
The beautiful game of football is arguably the only sport that entertains its fans with the opportunity to witness a genuine instance of sheer genius with a series of beautiful nutmegs. The display of skills, footwork, eye-catching dribbles by different players makes the game more entertaining.
A lot of players around the world can dribble, go past a defender with a single flick and pace. However, good dribblers can be considered as one of the most important key players of a team, as they can unlock any kind of defense.
There are tons of Football dribblers, but only the best have made it onto the CheapGoals list.
10. Roberto Rivelino
Rivelino’s magic with the ball was unbelievable, doing things nobody ever has or will do on a football pitch, and also had a quality of certainty about himself when he was on the ball.
He would not only wind past his opponents but also mortify them and smash defenders’ confidence. Sudden speeding up, various body bluffs would see him outfox defenders on numerous occasions, as some would say Garrincha made the ball talk to his feet.
Other than being authoritatively one of the best footballers to ever graced the beautiful game and lived with three World Cup medals, this iconic Brazilian player was incredible at dribbling. Being able to control the ball in front of defenders and going past them with ease and confidence is something an aspiring footballer would dream of.
8. George Best
Undoubtedly one of England’s greatest players, having scored 137 goals in 361 appearances for Manchester United in a career that spread over more than a decade for the Red Devils. He had the confidence to make use of the ball within and outside of his boot so well that he could cut around players quickly and easily.
De Lima is known for dribbling past defenders and after that going ahead to score a goal. only a few players have aced the popular ‘step over’ dribble as Ronaldo always proved to be a match-winner time over time with his solo dribbles.
6. Johan Cruyff
One of Cruyff’s best abilities was that he had the ability to recognize any weakness and shortcoming in a defender. Like De-lima, he had a move named after him called “The Cruyff Turn”. It would appear as though he was passing the ball to a teammate but instead to kick the ball, he would turn 90 degrees and drag the ball within his foot behind his back leg. This sudden 90-degree move always left the opponent over to the cleaners.
Talking about football dribblers, Garrincha compared to Pele was generally viewed as the best dribbler ever. His extraordinary speed combined with his stunning ball control always leaves defenders powerless, and unfit to deal with his mesmerizing dribbles. At just 5ft 6inches Garrincha’s low center of gravity helped him weave around opponents effortlessly.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona uses a style of dribbling called “Gambetta” in which he would use his body position to trick into going the wrong way.
Maradona is an impudent, supreme football dribbler – who uses his small stature to make an extraordinary impact which made him one of the best dribblers in football. His strength and control made it difficult to knock him off the ball.
Considered by many as a standout amongst one of the most skillful players in football, he was commended for his abilities and inventiveness. only if his prime had lasted longer, he may very well have been crowned with Ballon d’Or but Okocha is one of the best football dribblers. Be that as it may, it always a joy to watch the Nigerian dazzle on the football pitch.
The former PSG forward and Brazil legend came into the limelight amid his time with Barcelona scoring 70 goals in 145 caps for the club. Dinho brought his mesmerizing pattern of football from the streets of Brazil onto the world stage, and defenders couldn’t deal with his skills and frills.
Every little thing about him appeared to be so superb. From his sly bluffs to his sudden change in increasing speed, all that he did was accompanied by a smile all over his face. His most popular trick was ‘Snake Bite’ where he would trick defenders by pushing the ball sideways, however, all of a sudden pulling the ball back the other way. He is considered one of the best football dribblers.
Having for all intents and purposes wins everything minus a World Cup, the four-time Balon d’Or winner is magnificently unstoppable on his day. The Barcelona forward has scored lots of stunning goals, beating three, four, even five players before firing it in the back of the net.
Mathias Sindelar, Zinedine Zidane, Micheal Laudrup, Adama Toure, Magico Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr, Ariel Ortega, Eden Hazard,Dennis Bergkamp.
This is CheapGoal’s top 10 football dribblers, if any of our loving readers feel otherwise or have their preferred special list, pls don’t hesitate to drop and comment…