The African Cup of Nations is certainly the event that keeps readers around the world with their eyes on the sporting news and the Betway odds right now.
But in about two weeks it will be over – what should we watch afterwards? Well, if you are wondering, let us propose some talented young Nigerian players to keep an eye on later in 2022.
Bonke started playing football with Bujoc Sports FC, a team based in Lagos, but his time there was short – he soon left for Moderate Stars FC that ultimately opened a way for him to international football.
Bonke Innocent was scouted by the Norwegian team Lillestrøm SK where he spent three seasons playing as a midfielder, then he was snatched by one of Sweden’s most successful professional clubs, Malmö FF.
Innocent is part of the Super Eagles, too – he made his debut for the Nigerian national team at its World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde last September. He is not part of Nigeria’s AFCON squad.
Bonke Innocent is great at tackling and very strong in ball interception and blocking. His weaknesses are aerial battles and his lack of discipline on the turf, things he’ll certainly improve going forward.
Kingsley Michael made his debut with the Super Eagles in the match we mentioned above, against Cape Verde. He started playing football with Abuja FC before he was lured over to Europe by Italian Serie A team Bologna in 2017.
After graduating from the team’s youth academy, he had three extended loan spells before making his debut in the Serie A – unfortunately, an injury sidelined him after just two apps in the Italian top-flight league.
Kingsley Michael is appreciated mostly for his speed and acceleration but he has to work on his strength.
Finally, let’s not forget Maduka Okoye, the 22-year-old goalkeeper who made it to the Super Eagles’ shortlist ahead of the AFCON.
Maduka Okoye was born and raised in Germany to a Nigerian father and a German mother. He played with several teams from an early age, then joined Borussia Mönchengladbach for a while before moving on to the Bayer Leverkusen youth academy in 2009.
Six years later he left for Fortuna Düsseldorf where he made his senior debut in the second team. In 2020, at the age of 20, he left for Sparta Rotterdam’s youth side before quickly joining the senior team. This year, he went on to explore the Premier League with Watford – but only after the end of the season.
Okoye has been invited to play with the Super Eagles several times in the past but he only made his debut in 2019, for a friendly match against Brazil.