12 Nigerians in the UEFA Champions League


This year’s most lucrative and competitive football tournament in the world, the UEFA Champions League, is parading 12 Nigerian players in the group stages.

Some of the players, apart from Tammy Abraham of Chelsea, are still eligible to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria (while some have already been capped).

Here is a rundown of the players:

Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori – Chelsea

These two players have been on the radar of the NFF for some time and Abraham has even been approached already but he has chosen to represent the Three Lions of England and has been capped at senior level while Tomori who was also called up was not given a single minute of play.

For Tomori, who also holds Canadian citizenship, the path to the England national team seems a bit harder and turning out for Nigeria could help him achieve what he is already doing at club level at an international stage.

Tomori has been the player that has benefited much from David Luiz’s departure to Arsenal.

David Okereke and Emmanuel Dennis – Club Brugge

Dennis was capped in the match against Ukraine and Brazil and he showed flashes of why he was called up while Okereke is a member of the U-23 team. Okereke has four goals from six league games while Dennis has two from five.

Iyayi Atiemwen – GNK Dinamo Zagreb

The right-winger is at his sixth club since jetting out to Europe from Bendel Insurance in 2015. Atiemwen has scored three league goals in five appearances and has no goals in two appearances in the Champions League qualifying stage.

Bryan Idowu – Locomotiv Moscow

The World Cup defender has made three league appearances for his side and has made some appearances in this year’s edition of the Champions League to add to the three appearances he made in last season’s Champions League.

Stephen Odey and Paul Onuachu – Genk

Odey has not played for the main Super Eagles but has played in the U-23 team while Onuachu was a member of the bronze-winning Super Eagles team to the last Nations Cup.

Peter Olayinka – Slavia Prague

The much-travelled Olayinka has played for nine clubs since he turned out for 36 Lions in Lagos in 2012.

Now at Slavia, Olayinka made his debut for the Super Eagles in a recent friendly against Brazil which ended one goal apiece.

Tyronne Ebuehi – Benfica

Ebuehi is making a comeback from another injury spell but was registered by Benfica for the Champions League as he hopes to snag minutes.

Ebuehi was profiled by the Dutch FA before the NFF swayed him and has now been capped seven times.

Ademola Lookman – RB Leipzig

This is another player that the NFF has had discussions with and another that the English FA don’t want to lose to Nigeria.

A member of the gold-winning England U-21 squad to the 2017 FIFA World Cup, Lookman has made a permanent move to join RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, a decision which could sway him in Nigeria’s direction.

Victor Osimhen – LOSC Lille

Osimhen is taking Ligue 1 by storm, having scored seven goals in eight league appearances and looking the part to become the Super Eagles No.1 striker after the retirement of Odion Ighalo.

He scored his first goal for the national team against Ukraine and also scored against Chelsea in the last round of the Champions League fixture.


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