- Nigeria's football scene is buzzing with excitement as five outstanding defenders have been shortlisted for the prestigious EaglesTracker Defender of the Season Award for the 2022/2023 season.
These exceptional players have demonstrated their prowess on the field, earning them well-deserved recognition.
Among the nominees is Tyronne Ebuehi, whose contributions to Empoli's backline were remarkable.
The 27-year-old defender showcased his defensive prowess in 26 league appearances, aiding Empoli in conceding the third-fewest goals in the Italian Serie A's lower half.
Not content with just defending, Ebuehi also made his presence known in attack, netting two goals and providing four crucial assists.
Joining him on the nominee list is Kingsley Ehizibue, a key figure in Udinese's impressive defensive record. Ehizibue's 27 appearances helped solidify Udinese's defence, making them one of the top two teams in Serie A's lower half.
His versatility as a right-wing-back was evident as he not only showcased his defensive abilities but also contributed two goals to help Udinese secure a respectable 12th-place finish.
Igoh Ogbu, a recent addition to Slavia Prague, made an immediate impact in the Czech Republic.
The 23-year-old centre-back swiftly established himself as a reliable presence at the heart of the defense, earning a regular spot in the starting lineup.
Ogbu's 11 league appearances played a vital role in Slavia Prague's second-place finish, and he capped off his season with triumph in the Czech Cup.
Also on the shortlist is Bright Osayi-Samuel, a standout performer for Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig.
Osayi-Samuel's consistently brilliant displays helped Fenerbahce challenge for the league title, showcasing his skills as a versatile attacker.
The former QPR ace even earned his first international call-up for Nigeria, impressing fans and pundits with a memorable debut against Portugal.
Also in is Kevin Akpoguma.
Amidst Hoffenheim's disappointing campaign, Akpoguma emerged as a shining light for the team.
The versatile defender showcased his adaptability, featuring in various positions across the backline, including right-back, wing-back, and even centre-back.
Akpoguma's contributions played a pivotal role in Hoffenheim retaining their top-flight status, narrowly avoiding relegation on the final day of the Bundesliga season.
Now, the burning question remains: Who will be crowned the Best Nigerian Defender of the Season?