Chidozie Awaziem is the fastest defender in the Super Eagles setup and also has a lot of energy to accompany his pace.
The Super Eagles left the shores of Nigeria in 2014 to search for greener pastures in Europe’s rich fields. Awaziem joined Portuguese giants Porto in 2014, but he had to play for the under-19’s.
After his impressive displays, the Nigerian star was soon drafted into Porto B. Awaziem was a regular for Porto B, registering 73 appearances in all competitions within two seasons.
However, despite his consistency, the 25-year-old struggled to break into the Dragons first team.
In search of top-flight football, the Super Eagles centre-back sealed a six-month loan deal to Ligue 1 side Nantes in 2017. Awaziem settled quickly into the team in his first season. He made 22 appearances for the Yellow Canaries.
At the expiration of his loan spell, Awaziem returned to the Estadio Dragao, but this time as a player that had experienced top-flight football. He got drafted into the senior team at Porto. Still, he was listed as a B-team player.
Awaziem finally got his breakthrough at Porto in October 2018, when he made his debut against Varzim in the Portuguese Cup. He also made an appearance in the UEFA Champions League against Galatasaray a month later.
Still, the former El-Kanemi was deemed surplus to requirements, and he had to move to Turkish side Rizespor on another loan deal in 2019.
Awaziem had two other loan deals at Leganes and Boavista before sealing a 5million euros move to the latter last summer.
Nevertheless, the Portuguese side chose to loan him out to Alanyaspor, where he has cemented his place as a top player.
On the international scene, Awaziem has been brilliant for Nigeria. He has played as fullback and centre-back for the Super Eagles.
The 25-year-old is on the long list of Super Eagles stars that got their first call up from former coach Gernot Rohr. He made his debut for Nigeria in a 3-0 friendly game victory against Togo.
He was a key member of the Nigerian squad that won bronze at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Going into the last AFCON in Cameroon, Awaziem was expected to form a strong partnership with Troost-Ekong in the heart of the Nigerian defence in the absence of Leon Balogun.
However, he was unfit throughout the tournament, and he had to watch from the sidelines.
Nevertheless, he has another chance to prove his quality in March when Nigeria tackle Ghana for a World Cup ticket.