As we know the NPFL is shrouded with lots of ageing footballers, today CheapGoals.com focus on young players who are prepared to make their mark at the highest level. It’s hard to pick from such a fantastically gifted gathering of youngster all through the Nigeria Professional Football League.
A detailed look at the ten young prospect every football enthusiasts must watch out for in 2016/2017, we’ve selected ten players under the age of 23 poised to break through in a big way this season.
10. Akanni Elijah (16 years) -Midfielder – MFM FC
The teenager who recently made his debut against Wikki tourists in a rescheduled match Last Wednesday impressed greatly in the sides 1-1 draw.
Just 16 years old, the former Pepsi academy graduate controlled the midfield with calm and composure and he had a hand in his side’s equaliser. He is highly rated by the coaches at MFM. Elijah can play from the right side of midfield as well as a right wing back and is a free kick specialist. A prospect for the future.
9. Ibrahim Alhassan aka “Muazam” (21 years)- Striker – Akwa United
A former U-17 player with the 2013 set (although missed both the U-17 Afcon and World Cup after failing MRI scan) Muazam was the team’s highest goal scorer in the qualifiers before the emergence of Isaac success coupled with his failing of the MRI scan at the U17 camp.
The former flying Eagle striker went on a couple of trials outside the country and has played for Wikki tourist in the NPFl before settling with the Uyo based side and at 21 years of age, There’s still time on his side to fulfil his potential as a goal poacher.
He was instrumental in Akwa United 3-1 win over plateau united in February, he scored a brace in the match as the Uyo side ended their visitor’s unbeaten start to the season.
8. Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (21 years) – Midfielder- Akwa United.
Ifeanyi just like Muazam is also a former flying eagles player he made the 2015 U-20 team to the U-20 world cup in New Zealand.
He formerly played for MFM FC in the NNL and in the Olukoya Boys’ debut in the NPFL. Ifeanyi is a free kick expert, and as a result was the designated free kick taker when he was with the Lagos-based team. The 21-year-old is currently based in Uyo with Akwa United.
7. Otun Fawaz (17 years) -midfielder- Shooting Stars (3sc)
The young midfielder who was discovered after a pre-season tournament in mid-2016 as a 16-year-old. He made the team list for the NPFL all stars team to Spain last year.
At just 17 years old, the talented midfielder has been an integral part of the Oluyole warriors this season.
6. Etor Daniel (23years) -Striker- Rangers
Alongside Obinna Nwobodo, Chisom Egbechulam, Etor was a menace as the flying antelopes secured their first league title in over 30 years.
In 2012 he was called up to the Nigeria Super Eagles home-based team. He made his first appearance for the senior national team and was part of the Nigeria U-20 2012 and 2013. He was also selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Etor Daniel played and won with Nigeria team the 2016 Caf All Africa Games tournament and Caf U23 championship 2016. Although just 23, he has played for Akwa United, ABS and Enyimba in the NPFL.
He was also selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Etor Daniel played and won with Nigeria team the 2016 Caf All Africa Games tournament and Caf U23 championship 2016. Although just 23, he has played for Akwa United, ABS and Enyimba in the NPFL.
5. Nazifi Yahaya (16 years) – Striker – Kano Pillars
Yahaya was part of the 2016 set of the U-17 team that failed to qualify for the 2017 Caf U-17 tournament. The talented striker is hailed as the next striking prospect after Victor Oshimen.
He signed for Pillars before the start of the current season in December 2016 and has been part of the first team ever since. Nazifi Yahaya has started matches against Rivers United and Katsina United this term.
4. Alhassan Ibrahim (17 years) -Midfielder- (Kano pillars)
Not to be mistaken for the former flying Eagles striker, Muazam. Ibrahim was signed from Saudarna FC last year after an FA cup game between pillars and Saudarna fc where he had an impressive performance.
The 17-year-old has been instrumental alongside Nazifi Yahaya in the Pillars team this season, scoring in the team 3-1 win over Enyimba earlier this season.
3. Adebayo Waheed (18years)-Striker- MFM FC
Another talented striker under the payroll of the Olukoya boys. The 18-year-old announced himself to the NPFL followers after scoring the only goal for MFM win against Kano pillars earlier this season.
He was brought in the second half of the game and paid the coaches faith by connecting well with a Stanley okorom cross with a header which sealed the win for his team.
2. Stephen Odey (22 years) -Striker- MFM FC
The current league top scorer is still a teenager, Stephen Odey has scored 12 goals so far in 11 league matches for MFM FC this season.
However, his scoring ability has been known since his days as a secondary school boy with Diary Farm FC. He was the most valuable player for the 2012 edition of the Lagos state principals cup has he top scored and led his school to victory.
He has been clamoured to be handed a call-up into the super Eagles team and it’s a matter of time before he gets a call-up. Odey has registered 12 goals so far this season.
1. Obinna Nwobodo (20 years)-Midfielder- Rangers Intl.
Many still wonder why a talent like his magnitude still doing in the local leagues. He was a major player in Rangers run to the NPFL title last season.
Nwobodo represented Nigeria at the CAF U-20 Championship 2015. He scored a vital goal in the semi-final against Ghana as the Nigerian team went on to win the championship. He suffered an injury during the final which subsequently ruled him out of the U-20 World cup later in 2015.
He contributed 7 goals and 10 assists to finish as arguably the best midfielder in the league in his first professional season in the top flight of Nigerian football. He was instrumental to their eventual title triumph, providing half of the assists for Chisom Egbuchulam’s 16 goals and ending Rangers’ 32-year wait for a 7th league title.
On match-day 37 against Ikorodu United, he scored a goal of the season contender – having sighted the Ikorodu United goalkeeper off his line, he scored with a lofted chip shot from almost 40 yards out.