Winning the U-17 World Cup has become something of a norm for the Golden Eaglets over the last...
Winning the U-17 World Cup has become something of a norm for the Golden Eaglets over the last few years, so winning it again in Chile probably doesn't constitute such a special achievement, some might think, but as the Barcelona winning machine of 2015 would tell you, winning is always a big.
Kudos to the Golden Eaglet squad then on winning their 5th title in the cadet tournament, while credit must also go to the U-23 Eagles for qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but what about the individual that have caught the eye this year.
Here’s a look at our top 5. Kindly drop your comments below the post after reading J
5. Gbolahan Salami
Now a full-fledged international, 2015 was another swell year in the increasingly remarkable career of the 24 year old forward. He experienced the highs and lows this year, what with his short lived loan spell at Red Star Belgrade and a failed move to Aston Villa due to work visa issues. He never seemed deterred however as he valiantly led Warri Wolves in the NPFL, top scoring in the league with 17 goals but narrowly missing out on the league title to Enyimba.
|Gbolahan Salami emerged the NPFL highest goalscorer with 17 goals|
Never one to shy away from controversy, he now seems to have shed the propensity for negative publicity and it has shown in his performances for Warri Wolves and the Super Eagles this year. Maybe Mario Balotelli can learn a little from him.
4. Assisat Oshoala
If she thought 2014 was a brilliant year for her, 2015 was even better for the versatile star as it got off to the best possible start with her move to Liverpool sealed in January. The versatile 20 year old has been head and shoulders above everyone in the Nigerian female football scene over the last 2 years and possibly in Africa as a whole too.
|Oshoala's performance earned her a move to England to join Liverpool Ladies|
Her tremendous performances earned her the Prestigious BBC Women’s footballer of the year award, beating the likes of Spain’s Veronica Bouquete, German Nadine Kessler, Kim Little of Scotland and Brazilian superstar, Marta. Talk about world Class Company, and you’ve got to say she’s the closest to that tag Africa has had since Mercy Akide.
3. Victor Osimhen
Winning the U-17 world cup? That’s just Okay. Emerging the top scorer in the tournament? Then that’s amazing and to do it in such style as Victor Osimhen did with top goals of differing varieties? Almost perfect!
|In Demand: Osimhen is being chased by Arsenal and Wolfsburg|
Osimhen clinched the trophy with the Golden Eaglets with 10 goal, a record at the FIFA U-17 World cup, now that is perfection. The teenage sensation was the name on every Nigerian lips during the tournament in Chile, utilizing his impressive physicality and deceptive pace superbly. He was so good it seemed unfair for him to compete with fellow 17 year olds, he was Unstoppable! His performances earned him a place in the Dream Team squad to Senegal for the Rio Games Qualifiers at just 17 years old.
His talents haven’t gone unnoticed to international clubs of course, and he’s been persistently inked with a move to Arsenal as well as Wolfsburg in Germany. He’s claimed to be in no rush to make a decision over his professional future, and you just hope he eventually gets to make the right decision and fulfill his truly meteoric potential.
2. Obafemi Martins
Now a veteran of some sorts and that is just me assuming everyone who goes to the MLS is a veteran, with all due respect. Obafemi Martin’s well-travelled career now finally seems to be yielding fruitful returns on a consistent basis since his move to Seattle Sounders.
|Obafemi Martins was voted Seattle Sounders Player of the year after a wonderful season he had|
He’s now been the top scorer for the Rave Greens in the last two seasons, with his 17 goals from last season proving to be a remarkable club He’s followed that up with yet another prolific season that saw him register 15 regular season goals for the Century Link Field outfit and also emerge the club’s player of the season.
His purple patch has caught the eye of Super Eagles boss, Sunday Oliseh who has recalled him to the national fold in recent times after a prolonged hiatus. Fast, strong with a lot of power in his shots, the pint sized 31 year old now seems to have added much needed composure in front of goal to churn out consistently impressive figures.
1. Odion Ighalo
The meteoric rise of Odion Ighalo this year is something of legends really. Coming from several years of nomadic travelling, shuttling between the likes of Granada and Udinese, the skillful forward has come in like an absolute wrecking ball at the Vicarage road.
|Odion Ighalo has been a revelation at Watford this season|
What his 30 goals now in the calendar year now since joining the Hornets in January, his goals have proved instrumental in first getting Watford up to the premier league, and now hold a strong position in the premier league.
The highpoint of his year probably has to be his 2 goal performance in Watford’s 3-0 win over Liverpool recently, with his deadly partnership with Troy Deeney proving particularly decisive. His goal tally now stands at 13 for the season, just 2 goals shy of Jamie Vardy in top spot, and there really was no question as to who deserved to the number 1 on this list. Here is hoping he can continue his red hot form into 2016, except of course, he has to come up against