Nigeria is the most famous among soccer lovers of all the African Nations. The country has positively impacted several international competitions and provided club soccer with memorable talents. It’s a conveyor belt of young, ambitious, hungry players eager to make their mark in the top leagues and competitions. The evidence is there to see and continues to strengthen. More aspiring players transferred to Europe this summer and are ready to work hard and make their presence felt.
Many of soccer’s most recognizable names are either from Nigeria or have Nigerian descent. But the national squad is in a transitional period with many stars of the past now past their best or retiring from international soccer to help lengthen and strengthen their club careers. It’s detrimental to the Super Eagles, harming its chances of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup or winning the African Cup of Nations. Fans fear the worst, and the pressure is now on the Nigerian Football Federation to act.
If you love Nigerian soccer or like to watch the best players coming out of the region to gamble on games at Alabama sports betting apps, this article’s for you. It will help bring you up to speed on Nigeria FC’s short-term future and goals. We investigate a tried and tested method that could help improve the team’s fortunes and boost its chances of winning more silverware.
Officials must dig a little deeper
Soccer has never been more popular in Nigeria than it is today. The game is watched by millions across the land, with international fixtures shown live on major television broadcasters and through the best live streaming apps. Fans love to pack the stadium and cheer on players like Joe Aribo strut their stuff in the famous green of the Super Eagles.
Nigerian soccer enthusiasts cheer on the national team, but there’s more to keep them busy. There’s a vast love, passion, and commitment for the top teams in Europe. The English Premier League is the most-watched soccer division in Africa by a considerable distance. It has been true for generations, and with more African players flooding the EPL and joining the top teams, the ties between the Premier League and the Nigerian community remain strong.
Such is the history and close connections between Nigeria and English soccer; there are now second and third-generation Africans born in England. Check the England national team playing out of Wembley, and you’ll see many players of African descent. Some of the Three Lions’ most ferocious players boast a Nigerian bloodline, at least on one side of their family.
Super Eagles to swoop on stars
That means the Super Eagles have missed some blockbuster names who denied the nation of their parents, choosing to represent England. But it works both ways, and the Nigerian Football Federation is now exploring ways to help level the playing field.
Interestingly, the NFF plan to entice young English and European players with close family links to Nigeria to commit to the Super Eagles. They want to show the next generation that playing for the team of their parents or grandparents brings great pride to the older generation and helps improve soccer in Africa while inspiring the stars of tomorrow.
But who are the stars of tomorrow, and which of the rising stars in soccer could realistically opt to play for Nigeria this season or next? There’s more than you might think, with hundreds of active professional soccer players in the UK and Europe eligible to pull on that famous Nigerian shirt. Below are some players who may want to shoot the team to another World Cup finals or African Nations.
With a name like Destiny, you’ve got to work hard to live up to the hype and growing expectations. Thankfully, Udogie is a warrior that has left no stone unturned in his quest for success. After smashing onto the scene as a striking 17-year-old, he plays in the Italian Serie A, debuting for Hellas Verona.
Udogie has made several appearances for the Italian national team at youth level, and trusted sources in Italy see him as the future of the European champions. He’s certainly good enough, but could Nigeria steal him from under the noses of the Azzurri?
The answer is yes, thanks to Destiny’s Nigerian dissent, but it remains unclear if he’s open to talks regarding swapping Italy for Nigeria. Fans of the team and the NFF would love to make the move happen, while Italian soccer experts would loathe to see him leave.
Born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents, Ebere Eze could answer the national team’s desperate need for a playmaker. The Super Eagles have a few box-to-box, hard-working midfielders, but the creative spark still needs to be added. A player who can take control of the ball, show a bit of magic, and win games is required more than another midfield linchpin. Eze may be the man the NFF have been after all this time.
Despite his flamboyant nature and evident skill with the soccer ball at his feet, Eze has had to work for his success in England. He suffered an unexpected cut from the famed Arsenal youth academy and went on the road, gaining experience at several teams outside the EPL.
He is now valued as a £14m player and is already aware of Nigeria’s interest in tying him down to the country of his parent’s birth.
The third and final name on our list is Chuba Akpom, another you may recognize from his efforts in the Premier League. Akpom is the first Middlesborough player to score twenty-plus goals in one season, and he has already declared his interest in playing for Nigeria.
Born to Nigerian parents in England, Chuba has represented top teams, including Arsenal, Brighton, and PAOK. He represented England at several youth levels, from under 17s to the U21s, but until he collects a senior squad cap, the NFF will keep their fingers crossed.
An attacking midfielder who can also play as a striker. The Super Eagles could do with that versatility and experience.