Over the last few weeks, the focus has been on the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, but with Nigeria’s exit and the competition coming to a close this weekend, attention now turns towards clubs football again.
There was no action in Europe’s major leagues last weekend due to the international break, but this weekend marks the start of uninterrupted club football until the penultimate week of March.
Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga are some of the few leagues back in action this weekend, while there is also the little matter of the FA Cup fourth Round in England.
Nigerian stars will not be left out, which is why Soccernet takes a look at some of the Super Eagles star’s matches to look out for this weekend.
There’s no other name to look out for than Victor Osimhen. It has been a rollercoaster season for Osimhen. The 23-year-old started the campaign in exceptional fashion with nine goals in 14 games.
However, just as it was starting to look like this is his season, the former Lille man picked up a facial injury that ruled him out of action for two months, including Nigeria’s AFCON campaign.
Although Osimhen has returned to action, he is still looking for his first goal since his return. But he will hope to change that when Napoli travel to Venice to take on Venezia on Sunday.
Osimhen will be seeking redemption in the game as his first encounter against Venezia did not end on a good note after he was sent off 23 minutes into the game last August.
Meanwhile, the match will also be a battle of Nigerians, with David Okereke and Tyronne Ebuehi expected to turn out for Venezia.
Taiwo Awoniyi has finally found his feet in Germany after sealing a permanent move to Union Berlin from Liverpool this season.
The Nigerian international has been brilliant for the Iron Ones this season, with nine goals in 17 Bundesliga games.
It could have been more if he had not been a part of Nigeria’s AFCON 2021 squad. Nonetheless, he has a chance to add to his tally when Union Berlin take on Augsburg this Saturday.
Awoniyi will have more responsibilities in the second half of the campaign after his strike partner Max Kruse sealed a move to Wolfsburg in the January transfer window.
Maduka Okoye was the subject of intense criticism and insults from Nigerians after Nigeria crashed out of the 2021 AFCON.
Okoye had to lock the comments section on his Instagram account after fans blamed him for Nigeria’s loss to Tunisia in the Round of 16.
However, his focus now turns to club football, and he cannot afford to dwell on the loss as he faces a huge game this Sunday.
Okoye is expected to return Sparta Rotterdam’s goal when they take on Feyenoord in the Rotterdam derby. The 22-year-old shot-stopper has not had the best of the season with Sparta.
He has conceded 23 goals in the Eredivisie season, keeping just two clean sheets. Sparta has not fared well, either, as they sit in the relegation zone.
Okoye, who will join Watford this summer, will hope to ensure Sparta retain their status in the Dutch top-flight before leaving.
The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend, and one of the games will see Alex Iwobi come up against Frank Onyeka as Everton take on Brentford.
Everton have a new man in charge in Frank Lampard, who replaced Rafael Benitez. But for Iwobi, Lampard’s arrival could be his last chance salon at Everton as he has been disappointing since he arrived from Arsenal.
Meanwhile, Onyeka’s time in England has not really been outstanding, but it is too early to judge him. In other games, Leicester City will welcome Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi for their game against Nottingham Forest.
The Foxes are the defending champions and will be delighted to have their Super Eagles stars back, especially Iheanacho, who scored some crucial goals in their successful run last season.
In the Premier League, Oghenekaro Etebo and William Troost-Ekong could feature for Watford in their relegation clash against Burnley.
Moses Simon will hope to continue his brilliant form when Nantes travel to Strasbourg in the French Ligue 1. At the same time, Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun will try to help Rangers bounce back from their loss to Celtic with a win against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.
In Spain, Almeria will rely on the scoring boots of Sadiq Umar in their promotion push, while Samuel Chukwueze is one to look out for when Villarreal take on Betis.