Italy have one of the most well-organized league systems in Europe, and it is no surprise that Nigerian football stars are attracted to the country.
Some of Nigeria’s past heroes have tried out and excelled in the Serie A, including Nwankwo Kanu and Taribo West, who both played for Inter Milan and Sunday Oliseh, who starred in the colours of Juventus.
A few players from the West African nation have continued to fly the green-and-white colours in Italy’s major leagues and Soccernet.ng x-rays their performances so far this term before the dreaded coronavirus struck the home-country of the Pope.
5. Joel Obi – Chievo Verona
Joel Obi came through the ranks at Inter Milan and made his Nigerian debut aged just 20. Now 28, and after a decade playing in the Serie A, the former Torino midfielder is having a first taste of life in Serie B with Chievo Verona.
Obi’s 19 appearances so far may have yielded zero goals, but it has helped the Flying Donkeys rise to eighth on the log, the last spot for the promotion play-off.
4. Simeon ‘Simy’ Nwankwo – Crotone
Only three players have scored more Serie B goals than the Nigerian international, with his 13 strikes – in 27 games this term – only one shy of the 14 he netted in 33 appearances last season.
The 27-year-old Lagos-born attacker is powering Crotone towards a return to Serie A, following their relegation in 2018.
Crotone currently sit second – the last automatic qualification spot – a hefty 20 points behind Benevento and just two points above Frosinone in third.
3. Victor Moses – Internazionale
The 2013 African Cup of Nations winner was enjoying life in Italy with Antonio Conte’s side until the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The 29-year-old attacker completed a loan deal from Chelsea in January to re-unite with a manager he performed excellently under en-route to lifting the English Premier League title in 2017.
Moses has featured in three league outings for Inter Milan, clocking 107 minutes and recording one assist. And the former Wigan hero need be at his best if the Black and Blues must stand a chance of usurping Juventus as the champions of Italy.
2. Ola Aina – Torino
It’s been nine months since Aina converted his loan switch from Chelsea to a permanent deal at Torino, but more is still expected of the Super Eagles fullback.
The 23-year-old, who plays as a wing-back for Il Toro, has featured in 20 of the club’s 25 league games this term, yet Torino sit in 15th position dreadfully close to the relegation battles than to fight for a European spot.
1. William Troost-Ekong – Udinese
The Super Eagles vice-captain has been an ever-present at the heart of Udinese’s defence, having appeared in 23 of the club’s 26 league games so far this term.
Troost-Ekong started 35 of 38 games for The Little Zebras last campaign, and he is on course to hit that mark again should the coronavirus be defeated soon for the Serie A to resume.
The former Bursaspor defender’s best efforts, though, have only helped The Friulians up to 14th position on the table – just one point above Ola Aina’s Torino who have played a game less.
Udinese ended last season in 12th, and with Troost-Ekong marshalling the rear, the white-and-black can still better that final standing.
High-flying Atalanta are yet to hand highly-rated youngster Caleb Okoli is Serie A debut, but it is only a matter of time before the 18-year-old defender shows the world why he comes so highly recommended.
Owerri-born Kingsley Michael has only managed six games for relegation-threatened Cremonese, but Bologna own the 20-year-old 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner, and he could return to the Serie A side should the worst happen.
And finally, Spezia-owned Theophilus Awua would be hoping for a better end to the season with the young midfielder featuring just four times for Livorno in the Serie B.