footballers many of whom later became globally renowned legends of the game. Victor Ikpeba featured for this country at the age-grade levels before becoming the
‘Prince of Monaco‘ enroute being crowned Africa’s best.
signs of genius that became the trademark of a glorious career. And the likes
of Jonathan Apkoborie, Sunday Oliseh and Nwankwo Kanu (Papillo) grew up from
being talented youngsters to play for some of the biggest clubs in Europe,
winning national and continental titles and appearing at the World Cup.
accolades, yet not many Nigerian stars can presently be called world class.
Save for Vincent Enyeama, Mikel Obi and a couple others.
Nigerian will wear the colours of any of the big teams left in the competition.
threatened to take the world by storm but ultimately failed to realise their
|Photo Credit: SportsMole|
At just 18 years old, Ogbeche was already a first team
player at French giants PSG and staring for the Super Eagles at the 2002 World
national side was thought to be the onset of a great goalscoring run for club
and country but it has rather defined a career that never peaked.
for any of the sides he played for despite his undoubted talent on the ball.
Now 30 and running down the clock in the Dutch league, fans can only look back
with pity at a talent that promised so much but delivered so little.
her own ‘Little Messi‘ who was clearly almost as blessed as the original
year old talent whose marauding, Messi-like runs helped Nigeria reach the final
of the U-17 World Cup in 2009. It appeared he had enough in him to sign for
Arsenal, Athletico Madrid or AC Milan or any of Europe’s top clubs but Okoro
ended at Almeria in Spain.
was too much a step for him to take. Still only 23, he can still turn his
drowning career around but if he doesn’t start doing that fast, his story might
end as a tale of too much ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’.
3. Macauley Chrisantus
|Photo Credit: PunchNg|
In 2007, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria arrived in Korea and,
defeating all comers, emerged as the champions of the youth championships.
Macauley Chrisantus. He outscored and outclassed the likes of Christian Benteke
(Belgium), Danny Welbeck (England), Yann M’Villa (France), Eden Hazard
(Belgium), Toni Kroos (Germany), and Victor Moses (England) to win the Golden
Boot with six goals.
best player in England and Benteke is one of the most reliable targetman
around, our own dear Chrisantus is plying his trade at AEK Athens after
spending time with Spanish second division side UD Las Palmas.
in heaven for Chrisantus to ever play in the Super Eagles.
as the ‘next Jay Jay Okocha‘.
was justifying all the media hype. By the time Rabiu made Goal.com’s list of 10
African Players to Watch, and The Times’ Football’s Top 50 Rising Stars it
became obvious that Nigeria had uncovered another gem.
meaningful impact at senior level and a hen has a better chance of growing
teeth to Rabiu winning his first Super Eagles cap.
Amuneke-esque solution the Super Eagles left wing clearly needed. I believe he
would have been better than George Finidi and Amuneke put together!
letter, Femi was scoring one of the tournament’s sweetest goals to help Nigeria
to another Africa U-17 glory. Still only 17 years old, he scored for the Super
Eagles on his debut and went on to appear at the FIFA World Cup in the same
year, becoming one of the youngest players ever at the Mundial.
But how this
boy’s sweet story suddenly turn sour will remain hard to explain in black and
to have the wing wizard sign for them. The next moment, he was down and out.
Before you could even point an accusing finger at the devil, Femi had quit
football due to serious eye problems at the ripe old age of 22!