On Monday, Nigerian midfielder James Igbekeme was named Wisla’s best player in the club’s hard-fought 2-1 home win over GKS Tychy in the Polish I Liga gameweek 23 at the weekend.
Igbekeme was already off the pitch when Luis Fernández struck the penalty kick that claimed all three points for Wisla, but his influence had been so impactful that fans voted him the man of the match.
In fact, Igbekeme has been instrumental in all three games he has featured for the club, guiding them to three consecutive wins.
The Nigerian midfielder has brought new energy to Wisla Krakow since his controversial departure from Real Zaragoza.
An outcast in Spain
It is hard to believe that only a few weeks ago, Real Zaragoza considered the midfielder surplus to requirement and unfit for first-team football.
James Igbekeme has come a long way in such a short time, from being rejected in Spain to becoming a key player in Poland.
The midfielder was not always unwanted in Zaragoza, though. It was at the club that he made a name for himself after spells at Ribeirão 1968 FC, AD Oliveirense, and Gil Vicente FC. At the time, he was one of the first names on the team sheet as he amassed 104 appearances, including 96 in La Liga 2.
However, times changed, and Igbekeme was considered surplus to requirements and shipped off on loan to the MLS, where he played for the Columbus Crew.
Despite making 23 appearances for the Crew, he was sent back to Real Zaragoza once again in January.
Still, Real Zaragoza did not want the 27-year-old, and after a few unnecessary public outbursts by the club manager, Igbekeme finally sealed a loan to Wisla Krakow.
A hero in Krakow
Since joining Wisla, Igbekeme has been a standout performer, putting behind his troubles.
Igbekeme’s performance in the game against GKS Tychy is his most outstanding, though.
The Lagos-born ace was the best player for Wisla in the match, receiving an average score of 7.10 points.
His performance in the game was exceptional, with moments where he seemed to be everywhere on the pitch, not only taking balls from his rivals but also leading his team’s game.
The victory over GKS Tychy is a testament to Igbekeme’s contribution to Wisla Krakow.
The team has shown a completely different level of quality in the current round than in the fall and is back in the race for promotion.
It will be interesting to see how Igbekeme continues to develop and contribute to the team’s success and maybe he could be rewarded with a permanent stay in Krakow.
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