2021 was a year filled with happy memories for some Nigerian Footballers.
Samuel Chukwueze won the UEFA Europa League with Villarreal. Asisat Oshoala did the treble (UEFA Women's Champions League, Spanish Primera Iberdrola and Spanish Copa de la Reina) with Barcelona. Wilfred Ndidi & Iheanacho won the English FA Cup with Leicester amongst many others.
Who do we expect to shine in 2022 ? Who is on the verge of a breakout year ? Here are our Top 10 Nigerian Players to Watch in 2022.
#10: Innocent Bonke & Alhassan Yusuf
At number 10, we have two midfielders who have just started to make their mark in Europe. Bonke is coming off a Swedish title win with Malmo FF, while Yusuf continues to establish himself with Royal Antwerp.
2022 could be a special year for one or both of these players.
#9: Chiamaka Nnadozie & Kingsley Michael
Chiamaka Nnadozie has been enjoying a breakout season with Paris FC. At only 21 years old, she has the potential to become a true star in 2022.
Kingsley Michael on the other hand finally broke into the first team at Bologna this season before suffering an ankle injury ruling him out for 6 months. We are keen to see how he returns, and if he can regain a spot in the side.
#8: Taiwo Awoniyi (FC Union Berlin, Germany)
Taiwo Awoniyi has enjoyed a fine 2021 and even better 21/22 season so far with Union Berlin in the German Bundesliga.
He recently made his debut for the Super Eagles and will be a part of the AFCON 2021 squad.
2022 could be a special year for him.
#7: Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)
Ejuke has become one of the most interesting Nigerian players to watch, with his quick feet and unstoppable dribbling.
Heading into his first AFCON with Nigeria, he has the potential to make a name for himself on the African stage. If he keeps up his club appearances, then a move to mainstream Europe might be on the cards.
#6: Akinkunmi Amoo (Hammarby IF, Sweden)
Probably the best Nigerian U20 player right now, Akinkunmi Amoo set the Swedish Allsvenskan on fire in 2021 with his quick feet, ever-improving technique and his knack for arriving in the box at the right time.
There has already been rumoured interest from a host of English Premier League clubs, so 2022 looks set to be a brilliant year for the youngster.
#5 Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy)
Nigeria’s Starboy, Victor Osimhen has recently been making waves around Europe for his impressive performances with Napoli so far in the 2021/2022 season.
After missing out on Nigeria’s AFCON campaign due to COVID 19, Osimhen will be fully focused on club football, and 2022 could be a year where he sets the world alight, especially if Nigeria make it to the FIFA World Cup.
#4: Calvin Bassey (Rangers FC, Scotland)
One of the brightest young Nigerian talents right now, Calvin Bassey earned his first Super Eagles call up in 2021 and also became a key player for his club side, Rangers.
Despite missing out on the AFCON in Cameroon, 2022 has the potential to see Bassey develop into a top centre-back in world football and a mainstay in the Nigerian side.
#3: Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
Okoye rose in reputation throughout 2021, moving from fourth division Germany to becoming one of the best goalkeepers in Holland.
Heading into his first AFCON with Nigeria and a move to Watford already set for the summer of 2022. Maduka could be one of the most exciting Nigerian Footballers next year.
#2: Emmanuel Dennis (Watford FC, England)
An unpredictable star for Watford so far this 2021/2022 season, Emmanuel Dennis has put disappointing spells in Germany and Belgium behind him.
Despite missing out on the Super Eagles’ AFCON campaign, Dennis has the potential to make a name for himself in 2022 if he keeps up his impressive performances at club level.
#1: Joe Aribo (Rangers FC, Scotland)
Joseph Oluwaseyi Temitope Ayodele-Aribo, the Nigerian player who we are most excited to watch in 2022.
The 25-year old has been a Super Eagles fan-favourite since making a scoring debut against Brazil in 2019
In 2021, he established himself as a key player for his club side, Rangers, helping them to an unbeaten season and the Scottish Premiership title.
Now heading to his first AFCON with the Super Eagles, Aribo’s reputation is still on the rise in global terms. With a rumoured move to the English Premier League on the cards next year, Aribo’s stock has potential to make a major rise in 2022 if he can keep up the same level of performances.
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