Nigeria Football Blog: Musa, Ighalo, Iheanacho, Iwobi, Etebo

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Ahmed Musa, footballer, Nigeria

Ahmed Musa, also seen as the most decisive player currently in the national team. Being a winger and striker, his incredible pace and speed are a torn in the flesh of defenders of the opposition. Ahmed Musa was born on October 14, 1992, at Jos, the northern part of Nigeria.

Nigerian League Contribution

Currently playing for Al Nassr, Ahmed Musa started his playing career at GBS football academy. He played for Juth FC, and Kano pillars. At Kano pillars, he held the record for highest-ever a number of goals in a season before the record was later broken the following year in 2011, a year later. He was then transferred to VVV-Venlo (a German club) in 2010 at the age of 17.

National Team Contribution

He was first introduced to represent his country in the African youth championship in 2010. Not just that, in 2011, he represented the country u20 world cup where he made 5 appearances and scored 3 goals.

He was also included in top 10 players for Adidas golden ball, an award meant for the most incredible player of the tournament (u20 world cup) At the age of 17, Musa has already gained the national team recognition as he was called to represent his country. He went in for Mikel Obi in the second half, a match Nigeria won 2 goals by nil against Madagascar. His first goal came in 2011 against Kenya in a friendly match.

Even though he was young, his amazing talent was well recognized as he was one of the nominees for the most promising talent award organized by CAF on December 7, 2011. In 2013, he was part of the 23 man squad that beat Mali in the semi-final before later winning the competition some days later. He was also part of the confederations team that was eliminated in the group stage later that year.

In the 2014 world cup, he created the record of being the Nigerian to score a brace in a single world cup match. The match was played against Argentina, though the country lost by 3 goals to 2. He repeated the same feat against Ireland in 2018 world as he netted another brace to keep his record intact, making it the first Nigerian player to score in twice in two consecutive world competition.

Liverpool football club

He became the third most capped Nigerian player in June 2019, surpassing Kanu Nwankwo in the process after playing against Zimbabwe in a friendly match.

Nigeria National Team Appearance and Goals

For the national team, the winger and forward has made an incredible number 87 appearances as of July 25, 2019, netting 15 goals in the process.

Team Honour

In terms of cups and awards, Musa is a level above others. He won Wafu nations cup 2010. He has also won the African youth championship cup in 2011. As far African cup of nations is concerned, he is a proud winner of the cup in 2013. He is also part of the team that won the third place.

Alexander Chuka Iwobi, footballer, Nigeria

Popularly known as Alex Iwobi, he is the nephew of formal super eagle’s skipper Austin Jay Jay Okocha, he was born in Nigeria, Lagos to be precise on the 3rd of May 1996. The current arsenal midfielder left the country at the age of 4 and had a brief stay in Turkey but grew up in Newham, UK. Currently playing for Arsenal football club, a club he joined at an early stage (8years). Though he was nearly sold twice between the age of 14 and 16, Iwobi has become almost an important winger for Arsenal and he is seen as the current king of nutmegs by most in the English Premier League.

Nigeria National Team contribution

He first ventured into the super eagles on October 8, 2015, against DR Congo, he came on as a substitute for Armed Musa in the second half, though Nigeria lost the match by 2 goals to nil. After then, he also made the 35 man squad list for Olympics in the summer of 2016 but unfortunately, he didn’t make the final 18 man list trip to Brazil in that year, a tournament Nigeria got the bronze price.

Because of injury, he was pulled out of the squad for world cup qualifier on August 2017. After recovering, he continued to demonstrate commitment by showing up when called upon and on October 7th, he was finally rewarded as he scored the only goal against Zambia, which was not his first goal though, but the goal secured Nigeria world cup dream which helped in increasing his fan base as well as his confidence. His remarkable form for his club and country in the matches he played made him an undisputed member of the national team. His amazing form and national team commitment guaranteed his spot among the squad to be taken to Russia 2018. During the tournament, he didn’t disappoint and gave his best even though his best was not enough to save the country from elimination in the group stage, finishing with just 3 points.

That’s not all, he was also part of the promising squad that took part in the African cup of nations a few months back. He was ever-present and even score an important goal against Cameroon after collecting an assist from Odion Ighalo. He was applauded for his performance in the tournament even though it was not enough to secure the cup.

National caps and Goals

In terms of appearance for the team, as of July 25, 2019, Iwobi has made a total of 36 appearances, scoring 6 goals in the process.

Personal honour

In terms of achievement for his country, Alex Iwobi has done quite well. He won the young confederation African footballer of the year in 2016. He was also among the substitute for CAF team of the year in the same year 2016.

Team honour

He was also among the squad that recently won third place in the African cup of nations that was just concluded in Egypt.

Kelechi Promise Iheanacho, footballer, Nigeria

Kelechi Iheanacho, another incredible talent to have ever appeared in Nigeria jersey. Born on the 3rd of October 1996 in Owerri, the Nigerian and Leicester forward started his blistering career at taye academy, an academy situated in the capital of Owerri. There he stayed for 3years (2011-2014) before representing Nigeria at the U17 world cup in 2013, a tournament that Introduced him to the world as the latest promising talent, and the next African big talent in the near future.

FC Barcelona football club captain

Kelechi Nigeria National Team contribution

At 2012, he traveled England to sign a pre-contract with Man City, which he later advanced to professional contract at the age of 18. Right from the age of 13years, he has been representing Nigeria and at the 2013 U17 world cup, the footballing world knew who Iheanacho is, an incredibly sharp striker with an eye for goals and wonderful positioning.

He had his first taste of major tournament in Africa U17 championship, a competition that took place in morocco in 2013. He showed his worth yet once again as he netted a hat trick against Botswana, though the goals were dedicated his mom who passed on 8 weeks before the tournament. Nigeria reached the final of that tournament even though they lost on a penalty shootout against Ivory Coast. In 2013 U17 world cup, he showed why he is the hot cake for Europe elite clubs as he guided the country to tournament final and winning it while recording 6 beautiful goals to his name and also providing 7 assists. As expected, he was awarded the golden ball award for being the player of the tournament. He blistering form qualified him to be selected for the U20 world cup that took place in 2015 at New Zealand where he played in two matches. He made the 35 man list for Olympics 2016 but couldn’t make the final 18.

In 2014 FIFA world cup, he made his first senior debut as a substitute in a match against Switzerland. A match Nigeria drew. Two years later, he made his first senior start against Egypt in Afcon Qualifying match, a match that ended a 1-1 draw. He later found the back of the net in two consecutive matches in May 2016 against Mali and Luxembourg. His lovely contribution in those matches finally earned him a competitive debut against Egypt where he provided an assist. Even though there was a change in personal at some point, he proved to be the real deal as he distinguished himself. Yet again, he scores two powerful goals in two matches that same year (against Zambia in Ndola and Tanzania in Uyo).

National Caps and Goals

As at November 2018, he has made a total of 23 appearances for the national team, scoring 8 goals in the process.

Team honor

He has won FIFA U17 world cup, the tournament that introduced him to the professional footballing world.

Personal Honour

FIFA U17 world cup golden ball award

2013 and 2016 CAF most promising talent

Odion Jude Ighalo, footballer, Nigeria

Odion Ighalo is a professional Super Eagle’s player, a decisive central forward who was born in Lagos but raised in Edo (a state closer to Lagos) in the year 1989. His career as a football player started with a youth team called prime between 2000-2005, appearing 5 times with no single goal recorded to his name. He then took a step forward by joining Julius Berger, another football club in Lagos in 2006. There he fared much better as he scored 5 goals in 10 appearances. It was there he was discovered by Marcelo Houseman, a FIFA agent who recommended him to Atta Aneke, before taking a bigger step and left the country to start his career formally.

Super Eagles contribution

In the international scene, Ighalo received his first international call upon the 24th of match 2015 under the then-interim coach (Daniel Amokachi) for a friendly which was lost to Uganda by one goal to nil. That called up was the beginning of many.

In 2016 Olympics, Ighalo made the list of players to be selected to go to Brazil but did not eventually make the final list as he was said to be overage. He didn’t give up and continued his remarkable form for his club Changtun Yatai which earned him a called to participate in the world cup at Russia in 2018.

It was not a good time for Ighalo as he didn’t have a single goal for his country throughout the group stage, and because the team was eliminated in the group stage, he confirmed to have received death threats, most notably for missing a glorious chance against Argentina which could have eliminated Argentina and send Nigeria through to the next round of the competition.

One would feel he should have retired because of the death threats, but despite the death threats against his family, he didn’t give up. When called for Afcon qualifier (African cup of nations), a tournament meant for only African teams. He made himself available and performed remarkably well. His good form did not go unnoticed as he appeared on Barcelona radar for a loan move some months after then, but when an official offer was made, he rejected because he wanted a permanent move.

In the 2019 African cup of nations, featuring in every single match for the super eagles having a number of assists to his name, he scored an incredible total of 7 goals, the highest by any player in the tournament. This stunning development earned him the highest goal scorer of the tournament.

National caps and Goals

In total, Ighalo has made a total number of 35 appearances for the national team so far and scoring 16 goals in the process.

Team honours

So far, he has not won any cup with the national team but helped the team achieved 3rd place after scoring the only goal in the 2019 African cup of nations against Tunisia. His biggest achievement with the national team so far.

Oghenekaro Peter Etebo, footballer, Nigeria

Born on November 9, 1995, Etebo is another lovely National team midfielder, currently playing for a championship club, stoke city. He first ventured into football through Lord Honour Fc in 2011 before moving to Warri wolves in 2012 where he spent 3 magnificent seasons and scored a series of goals as a midfielder.

Nigeria Premier League Profile

He made his first professional debut in 2013 Nigeria Premier season. He made that season a mouth-watering one and memorable one for the fans and himself. For a midfielder in his first professional season, one would think it will be hard to fit in but he surprised many by scoring the first hatrick of the season. That was not all, he repeated the same thing weeks later, but this time, he scored the fastest hattrick of the premier league that season against a Wikki Tourist within 22minuites. In 2015, he was awarded best goal award by Glo, the wonder goal he scores against Bayelsa United. His talent didn’t go unnoticed as he bagged the award for the most promising talent award of the year by CAF on January 7, 2016.

In 3 years of his stay in Nigeria Premier League, he made 64 appearances and score 23 goals, an amazing fit by a midfielder considering the physicality of the league.

National team contribution

In 2013, Etebo made his first appearance for the national team in a 2 nil loss against Cote d'Ivoire in Abidjan during African Nation Championship qualification match in the campaign for home base players. He played against Jordan in an international friendly in October 2013. He was part of the Nigeria U23 team that won African Cup of Nations, a tournament he finished as top scorer with 5 goals recorded to his name, among those goals is the brace he scored in the final of the competition against Algeria, a matched that ended 2-1. His out of this world performance almost singlehandedly qualified Nigeria to the Olympics in 2016. And he was rewarded with making the 35 man provincial list for the tournament. It is quite easy to lose form having moved to a bigger and more experienced squad, this was not the case of Etebo, has he bagged 4 goals in a single match against japan, a match that ended 5-4 in favor of Nigeria. He was later disrupted with an injury sustained in the third game of the group stage. That affected his game time throughout the tournament. But nevertheless, the team finished with bronze.

He also made the 23 man provincial list for the 2018 world cup. He didn’t miss any of the group stage matches and gave his best, even though it was not enough to guarantee or secure qualification to the next stage.

National Caps and Goals

So far as of July 25, 2019, Etebo has made a total of 33 national team appearance, scoring a goal in the process.

Team Honours

Etebo has not won a major cup with the national team so far but played an important role in securing the U23 African cup of nations first place.

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