Like in many of Europe’s major leagues, the German Bundesliga has a decent number of Nigerian stars plying their trade.
When fit, Kevin Akpoguma is a regular in the starting eleven at Hoffenheim. Taiwo Awoniyi is a few weeks into his second year at Union Berlin, but he is fast becoming a fan’s favourite.
Noah Sarenren Bazee is making his way up the ladder at Augsburg. Kingsley Ehizibue plays for Cologne, while Anthony Ujah and Suleiman Abdullahi are also on the payroll of Union Berlin.
Another Nigerian star has been added to them this season. His name – Dickson Abiama.
Little-known in Nigeria when he left Abarowei Football Academy in the Alimosho area of Lagos state as a teenager in 2016, Abiama was even less recognised when he joined the youth team of lowly SpVgg Mögeldorf.
But the 1998-born forward quickly adapted to his new surroundings and quickly acquired the reputation of a prolific goal-getter.
A move to Quelle Fürth soon materialise, and after a year there, Abiama joined SC Eltersdorf in 2019 and netted 17 goals in 21 games for the Bayernliga Nord side.
Bavaria began to take notice of Abiama when he signed for then-2.Bundesliga club SpVgg Greuther Fürth last summer.
On his debut for the Cloverleaves, the Nigerian attacker delivered a performance that warmed him straight into the hearts of the club’s supporters.
With Greuther Fürth facing a possible embarrassing defeat to fifth-division side RSV Meinerzhagen in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, Abiama came on as a second-half substitute and scored twice in extra-time to inspire his new side to a 6-1 win.
The 22-year-old soon became the club’s talismanic forward as he scored seven league goals to help Stefan Leitl’s men secure promotion to the Bundesliga.
Abiama became a fan’s favourite.
His most important goal to date for the club, however, arrived on the final match of the season against Fortuna Düsseldorf.
With Greuther Fürth down to ten men, Abiama scored the winning goal in a 3-2 win, which elevated the Cloverleaves from third to second, securing automatic promotion.
It was the club’s first top-flight elevation since 2012, and it was no surprise the Fürth fans were so happy they started referring to Abiama as a football god.
Stefan Leitl’s men will struggle among Germany’s best in the Bundesliga this season and are odds-on candidates to be demoted at the end of the campaign.
But the Cloverleaves will enjoy a few fine highlights, many of which will be inspired by Nigeria’s Abiama. Like his assist in Greuther Fürth’s 5-1 loss at Stuttgart on matchday one and his excellent play that led to his side’s penalty goal in the 1-1 draw against Arminia Bielefeld last weekend.
If the six-foot forward keeps his momentum and continues to contribute goals and assists, the rest of the Bundesliga will be forced to take notice soon.
A call-up to the Super Eagles could also be in the offing, and it would mark the beginning of the climax to a story that started from nothing for Dickson Abiama.