With a few hours left to the end of the last month of the year, it’s time once again to look at the great players and moments that blessed the last 30 days.
Soccernet Nigeria takes a peek at the five finest Nigerian born stars who had a fantastic end to another memorable year.
1. Semi Ajayi
The West Bromwich Albion defender has been a solid rock at the heart of the Baggies defence all season, but he took his performance a notch higher in December.
The 26-year-old did not miss any game for Slaven Bilic’s men in a month where West Brom lost just a match of the seven they played. The former Rotherham star began the last month of the calendar year with a man-of-the-match display as the Baggies claimed a 1-0 win at Preston North End.
Ajayi then scored in the 5-1 thrashing of Swansea. Draws at Wigan and Barnsley and also at home to Brentford sandwiched another thrilling 3-2 victory away to Birmingham, games where the Nigeria international starred from start to finish.
2019 may have ended on a sour note for Ajayi and teammates following a 2-0 home loss to Middlesbrough on the 29th, the centre-half can, however, take pride in helping West Brom rise to joint-top of the Championship table.
2. Anthony Nwakaeme
Under the radar since making his international debut for Nigeria in 2017, the Trabzonspor attacker has lit up the Turkish Super Lig with goals.
The former Hapoel Beer Sheva forward has already smashed home five goals and assisted 4 others in 17 league showings this term, but two of those goals plus one assist arrived in December. The 30-year-old scored his first of the month in the 3-1 thrashing of Antalyaspor before claiming an assist and the man-of-the-match award in Trabzonspor’s 1-0 win at Konyaspor.
In Trabzonspor’s last match of the year, Nwakaeme turned up in style, grabbing the second goal and delivering an all-action performance as Trabzonspor humbled Kayserispor 6-2.
3. Olanrewaju Kayode
Much has not been heard of Kayode since his ill-fated move to Manchester City two years ago. But after an uneventful spell at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, the former Austria Vienna striker has surfaced in Turkey where he is making quality defenders look stupid.
It has been a particularly fruitful December for Kayode who scored six of his eight goals so far for Gaziantep this month. The 26-year-old opened his account for the month on the first day of December in Gaziantep’s 1-2 loss to Denizilispor.
The Nigeria international then scored a brace each in the 3-0 defeat of Kayserispor and the 3-4 beating of Kasimpasa. Kayode then rounded off the year beautifully with a goal in the 1-1 draw at home to Yeni Malatyaspor.
4. Joe Aribo
Aribo started the month on an impressive note as he delivered a solid shift in Rangers’ 2-0 win at Motherwell. The 23-year-old got his only goal for the month plus a cute assist in the 3-0 smashing of Hibernian.
His performance in the 1-0 win over Kilmarnock was also praised by fans and pundits alike, but the biggest challenge of the season arrived in the shape of champions Celtic on Sunday.
The former Charlton Athletic midfielder did not disappoint as the Gers recorded their first win at the home of their bitter city rivals since 2010 courtesy of a 2-1 triumph.
5. Victor Osimhen
What a remarkable 2019 it has been for the former U-17 FIFA World Cup winner who has leapt from being just another promising youngster to a goalscoring machine being sought after by the biggest clubs in Europe.
20 goals in just 36 games showed the wonderkid was too big for the Belgian Jupiler League and it was no surprise when he switched Sporting Charleroi for Ligue 1’s Lille.
13 goals already in all competitions show he is the best player Les Dogues have got, and it can only get better in the new year. December coughed up three of Osimhen’s goals with the first coming in the 1-0 defeat of Brest.
The 21-year-old spent just 23 minutes in the Coupe De La Ligue tie against Monaco, but it was enough time to grab the opener and set Lille on the path to a fine 3-0 win.
Days later, Christophe Galtier’s men failed to turn up against the same opponent, with Lille suffering an embarrassing 5-1 defeat.
But Osimhen still stood up to be counted scoring the game’s opener which turned out to be only a consolation goal. The youngster can look back at a month that saw his market value more than doubled.