League football in France, as in many parts of the world, is on suspension since the outbreak of the wide-spreading COVID-19 infection, but much of the season’s fixtures had already been played.
Nigerian players were involved in all the divisions of football in that country, except for the Ligue 2.
But which of the footballers of Nigerian descent in the country has been the most excellent so far?
Oluwole Adebayo has featured seven times for Amneville since joining from Sarreguemines last September, and the 22-year-old defender is quickly becoming one of the key players for the National 3 side.
But he can’t possibly be the best while playing in the French fourth tier.
Haguenau’s Okenna Onwuzurumba has outshone Schiltigheim’s Simon Zenke in the National 2; the 23-year-old attacker is a constant feature for Cedric Deubel’s side while his 31-year-old countryman has earned just four appearances this term. The duo, though, has only one goal between them.
Ibrahim Usman has a lot of improving to do at Gazélec Ajaccio in the National 1. But aged just 20, the defender has time on his side to convince many that he’s got what it takes to make it to the top
In Ligue 1, Bordeaux’s Samuel Kalu has blown hot and cold at different stages of the season, but the tricky winger has the ability to consistently deliver more than the paltry single strike in 20 games he has recorded thus far.
Compatriot and club teammate Josh Maja, however, has more pleasing stats, with the 21-year-old striker netting six goals in just six starts for Les Girondins.
But the former Sunderland man is yet to fully earn the trust of club boss Paulo Sousa as 15 of his 21 appearances this campaign has come off the bench.
At Nantes, though, is a Nigerian who has barely put a foot wrong all season. Moses Simon has been one of the players of the year at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Louis Fonteneau.
No other Nantes star has more goals (5) or more assists (5) than the on-loan Levante winger, with another four strikes coming in the cup competitions.
In another season, the 24-year-old would be the best Nigerian star in France, but there’s another who has been more spectacular.
And that’s Victor Osimhen. Strikers generally need an adaptation period to settle down and study their new environment but not this Lagos-born U-17 World Cup winner.
Thirteen league goals in 27 games in his debut campaign for Lille have made his €12 million switch from Sporting Charleroi look like an incredible bargain.
The 21-year-old Super Eagles star is already worth more than twice that amount, and there are rumours of him being the subject of a €100 million move to either Man United or Real Madrid in the summer.
He’s undoubtedly Nigeria‘s most exceptional talent in France at the moment.