The home-based Super Eagles squad coached by Sunday Oliseh that participated in the 2016 Africa Nations Championship in Rwanda were eliminated in the group stages after a rather promising start with victory over Niger.
Five of those players that prosecuted the Championship are currently on the books of foreign clubs, although FC IfeanyiUbah defender Stephen Eze had an unsuccessful trials at Israeli side, MS Asdod FC following his good individual performance in the 2016 CHAN.
Completesportsnigeria.com’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI presents five players from that home-based side that are on the books of foreign teams presently, making a shining examples whose modest progression so far should inspire the current squad under the tutelage of Salisu Yusuf, and ahead of the 2018 CHAN qualifiers.
1. Chisom Chikatara (Wydad Athletic Club, Morocco)
Nigeria’s 2016 Africa Nations Championship squad crashed out of the first round of the tournament, but it was one Chisom Chikatara made name for himself with the four goals he scored in the group stages.
The former Abia Warriors striker scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Niger Republic in their Group C opener then added one more against Tunisia in the Eagles’ second game of the tournament, a 1-1 draw. Chikatara did not get his name on the scoresheet against Guinea which the team lost 1-0 but he had done enough for foreign clubs to take note of his immense qualities.
Wydad Athletic Club eventually signed the striker after Abia Warriors insisted the Morrocan club had not completed formalities to make Chikatara their bonafide player. Chikatara scored only one goal in the CAF Champions League last season.
2. Ezekiel Bassey (Barcelona B Team, Spain)
Former Enyimba striker, Ezekiel Bassey, caught the attention of Barcelona who signed him in January 2017, on initial loan deal until the end of the season for their B team.
Bassey played in all three of Nigeria’s matches at the 2016 Africa Nations Championship in Rwanda against Niger,
Tunisia and Guinea.
The expectation is that he could be handed a permanent deal at the Spanish side at the expiration of the loan arrangement.
3. Usman Mohammed (Uniao Madeira, Portugal)
Usman Mohammed was in Nigeria’s squad to the 2016 Africa Nations Championship in Rwanda in 2016 and played in the team’s three group matches.
Mohammed was linked with a move to Norwegian side Lillestrom before the 2016 Africa Nations Championship but he elected to be part of the team to the AFCON for home-based players.
Usman’s performances ensured that at 21, he was considered for the Nigerian U-23 team preparing for the football event of the Olympics.
Mohammed had a running battle with his Portuguese side who signed him up from his Nigerian club, Taraba United.
The club could not pay Mohammed’s financial entitlements, but he got the nod to join a new club after the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) ordered the release of his international Transfer Certificate (ITC) in April. His contract with the Portuguese however is slated to end officially on June 30, 2018.
4. Tunde Adeniji (Levski Sofia, Bulgaria)
Tunde Adeniji was one of the strikers that played for the Nigerian home-based Super Eagles at the 2016 Africa Nations Championship.
The striker who was still a player of Sunshine Stars during the Championship played in the group matches against Niger and Guinea but was not in action in the match against Tunisia.
Adeniji currently plays for Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia and scored seven league goals in 37 appearances to help the Bulgarian side achieve a Uefa Europa League place last season. In total, Adeniji played 2,980 minutes of club football last season.
5. Ifeanyi Matthew (Lillestrom SK, Norway)
Midfielder Ifeanyi Matthew was a member of the 2016 Africa Nations Championship then as a player of El Kanemi Warriors.
The midfielder moved from El kanemi Warriors but now turns out for Norwegian top flight club, Lillestrom SK whom he joined in the summer of 2016.
Matthew played eight leagues last year for his club and has so far this year, 2017, played seventeen league matches with one goal to his credit. He has played a total of 1,530 minutes of club football this season.