The just concluded 2020/2021 season in different leagues across Europe was a remarkable season for Nigerian players. It was a season that most of them will relish for years to come as huge successes were recorded.
For the likes of Paul Onuachu, Kelechi Iheanacho, Simy Nwankwo, Terem Moffi, it was a great season individually, considering the records broken and the new ones set by them. While other could look back at the season and count their gains collectively for their clubsides.
By and large, the 2020/2021 season was made for Nigerian players. Or in clearer terms, the season the ‘soap’ was effective for Nigerian players.
Sportyleagues brings to you a number of Nigerian Players in Europe, who through their impacts bagged major silverware for their clubsides.
Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi – FA Cup Winners
The duo of Iheanacho and Ndidi were more than impressive for Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side this season especially in the FA Cup, the oldest cup competition in club football.
The Foxes emerged winners of the FA Cup in Wembley on May 15, with thanks to Iheanacho’s crucial goals against Manchester United, Southampton and Brighton respectively.
Senior Man Kelz played in 6 FA Cup matches and notched 4 goals, becoming the highest scoring African Player in the competition with 14 goals.
He’s now ranked 18 on the all time scorers chart of the FA Cup and could move up to the 12th place if he scores just a goal in next year’s edition.
Meanwhile, the triumph of Leicester in the competition didn’t revolve around Iheanacho as his compatriot, Wilfred Ndidi was reliable for the Foxes in the middle of the park.
The prowess of the 24 year old Ndidi who started 5 out of Leicester’s 6 matches in the FA Cup this season was enough to help Rodgers secure his 8th Cup Final and first in English top flight league.
Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun – Scottish League Winners
Stephen Gerrard and his Rangers side were able to put a halt to Celtic’s imperium in the Scottish League for the first time in team years and again, the Nigerian pair of Aribo and Balogun had hands and legs in it.
Aribo started 27 out of the 31 matches he featured for Rangers and his 11 goals contributions (7 goals and 4 assists) when it mattered most, as well as his 1.9 most successful dribbles rate in the league propelled Rangers to the league title as they ended the season as invisibles.
Also, Leon Balogun’s solidity at the back helped The Light Blues’ goalkeeper (Allan McGregor) record the highest number of cleansheets (17) in the league.
Balogun, 32, had 15 starts in his 19 league appearances for Rangers and the team recorded 9 cleansheets in his presence.
Paul Onuachu and Cyriel Dessers – Belgian Cup Winners
It would’ve been disastrous if Paul’s 35 goals in 41 matches across Europe had ended without a return of silverware but fortunately, the disaster was averted.
Onuachu, Africa’s highest goal scorer in the world this season was a thorn in the flesh of the Belgian defenders with his goal scoring ratio of 0.9 goals per game in the league.
The lanky striker was able to score once in the Belgian Cup and assisted Theo Bogonda’s second goal in the final against Standard Liege as his KRC Genk side bagged the Belgian Cup in April.
For Dessers, he was able to score 7 goals in a total of 32 matches played in the league, while he started just 6 of them.
At the end of it all, Genk finished second on the log and would vie for a slot in the Champions League through qualifications that begins in July.
Samuel Chukwueze – UEFA Europa League Winner
No Samuel no problem for the Yellow Submarines against Manchester United in Gdansk as Unai Emery’s men won the Final of the UEFA Europa League via penalty shootouts.
The 22 year old winger was instrumental especially in the Europa League for Villareal, recording 11 appearances while starting 10.
This was after he had featured for the team in 28 matches in the Spanish LaLiga with 13 starts.
Following the triumph of Emery’s lads in the Europa League, five teams from the Spanish Topflight League will feature in the next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Peter Olayinka – Czech Republic 1 Liga Winner
Apart from the fact that Peter Olayinka’s Slavia Prague side have qualified for the Europa League, the club also won the League for the fourth consecutive time.
Olayinka scored 10 in 36 for the Czech club, 6 of them was in the league, 1 in the Domestic Cup and 3 in the UEFA Europa League.
David Okereke – Belgian Jupiler League Winner
Albeit yet to feature for the Super Eagles, 23 year old Okereke played his part in Club Brugge’s quest to clinching the Belgian League.
The former Spezia youngster netted 4 goals in 28 appearances for his Club Brugge side.
Asisat Oshoala – UEFA Champions League Winner
Oshoala was a substitute as Luis Cortes’ Barca side thrashed Chelsea ladies 4-0 in the final of female version of the UEFA Champions League in Sweden.
It was Barca’s first ever UCL title having fall short of grace in the past, losing to Lyon who happen to be the most successful side in the competition.
Imoh Ezekiel – Arabian Gulf League Winner
Former Nigerian U23 forward Ezekiel plays for Al-Jazira made history when he won his first league title outside Nigeria.
The UAE league went down the wire as Ezekiel’s Al-Jazira side needed a win to clinch the title which they eventually got despite picking up a red card.
Ezekiel, who 17 appearances for the Arab side this season netted 4 goals in the process.