’s Izuchukwu Okosi in this piece looks at three young Nigerian players almost unknown to the supporters back home in Nigeria who must be courted by the Nigeria Football Federation for different national teams.

1. Folarin Balogun (Arsenal)

The trio of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe may grab all the headlines for Arsenal this season but there is a young gunner who has taken the U-23 side of the team by storm with his goals and frightening pace.

Folarin Balogun is proving to be a star in the making whose talents must not be overlooked by the leadership of the Nigeria Football Federation – just like Bukayo Saka who has got some first team matches and impressed in equal measure.

Balogun’s development in the last one year has been astronomical. In the 2018/2019 season he scored 25 goals in 19 matches for the U-18 side which culminated in his promotion to the U-23’s.

This season he has started with a bang and scored a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers in the opening round of the PL2.

2. Chidera Ejike (Heerenveen)

The Heerenveen winger who was a onetime trialist at Liverpool has played in the two games so far by his team in the Dutch Eredivisie against Heracles and Feyenoord and even scored against the former when he came off the bench.

Ejike’s footworks were mesmerizing and he will surely be getting the attention of bigger clubs if he continues with his promising displays.

Ejike can be a superb addition to the Nigerian U-23 national team hoping to clinch qualification ticket to the football event of the 2020 Olympic Games.

3. Eberechi Eze (QPR)

It almost feels very depressing to see any talented Nigerian by blood, good/great footballer, identified as English.

Queens Park Rangers’ Eberechi Eze is a Nigerian through his parents (note, naturalization is just man-made) and has proven that he has the requisite skill set to help Nigeria unearth another midfield gem in the mould of the legendary Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha.

This season, the gifted youngster is already off the mark with a sublime goal in his team’s first Championship game of the season, a 2-1 win over Stoke City who didn’t feature Oghnekaro Etebo.

Eze (literally meaning a King in south east Nigeria) also starred against Huddersfield Town last weekend. 

The authorities and Super Eagles coaching crew must consider this hugely talented midfielder. previously  did a feature on Tammy Abraham on why he must be the replacement for the now retired Odion Ighalo Рthat remains our opinion despite the setback Chelsea suffered in their Premier League opener against Manchester United.

Abraham’s striking ability and movement in the opposition area were there to see on Sunday. The boy can be a perfect choice for the Eagles number 9 shirt.¬†

The three youngsters in this piece are very suitable at least for the U-23 Eagles.
PS: This featured story was first published on All Nigeria Soccer website.

Izuchukwu Okosi

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