Naijadad List 2017: The best foreign-based Nigerian players of the year

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Victor Moses

This Pulse List 2017 take a look at seven of Nigeria's best players abroad.

Nigeria has over the years become one of the most football exports, with players scattered all over the world and showcasing their talents in different leagues.

In 2017, some of these players had huge impacts, contributing massively to their club’s 2017 achievements.

In terms of impact and contribution at club level in 2017, these players are the best among their Nigerian peers.

This Pulse List 2017 take a look at seven of these players.

1. Victor Moses (Chelsea/England)

 

The story of how Victor Moses moved from the fringes to become one of the most important players in Chelsea’s Premier League winning season has been the high points (from a Nigerian perspective) of 2017.

Moses became so essential for Chelsea that it was difficult for them to maintain shape when the Nigerian was missing. The penetration, width and pace he brought from the right side, won him so many critical plaudits last season.

Moses made 22 consecutive Premier League starts from September 2016 to April 2017. 28 league starts and 33 league appearances in total this season.

He is the Nigerian player with the most Premier League appearances for a title-winning team ever.

2. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City/England)

 

Wilfred Ndidi arrived in England in January 2017 and amidst initial troubles at Leicester City, the Nigerian never looked out of place.

He took to the  Premier League like a duck to water and has been one of the most consistent performers in English top flight.

Despite three managerial changes in Leicester City since his arrival,  the 20-year-old has remained one of the first names on Leicester City’s starting XI.

3. Henry Onyekuru (KAS Eupen and Anderlecht/Belgium)

 

Henry Onyekuru can be considered the 2017 break-out star of Nigerian football. The forward was simply breathtaking in 2017 with KAS Eupen.

With Eupen last season, Onyekuru was incredible performances netting 24 goals and making 14 assists t become one of the most exciting youngsters in Europe.

He attracted the focuses of a slew of top European clubs including Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain before signing for Everton.

From Everton, he moved back to Belgium to join Anderlecht on loan and he has continued with his impressive form this season.

The 20-year-old in 2017 also broke into the Super Eagles and after his debut, he is one of the stars expected to make a late push for a 2018 FIFA World Cup slot.

4. Anthony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be'er Sheva/Israel)

 

After helping Hapoel Be’er Sheva to win their first Israeli Premier League title 2016, Anthony Nwakaeme stepped up in 2017 to help his team defend the title.

He scored 14 goals in 23 league appearances earning him the award for the best player in Israel. He also played a huge part in their second consecutive Israel Super Cup win.

His good form for Hapoel Be’er Sheva ensured he got a Super Eagles call-up.

5. Odion  Ighalo (Changchun Yatai F.C/China)

 

After initial struggles in China, Odion Ighalo has stepped up to become the best Nigerian striker. Ighalo left Premier League side Watford and joined Chinese side Changchun Yatai F.C.

He laboured initially with injuries but after getting over his adaptation struggles, the 28-year-old started scoring for fun.

He ended up with 14 League goals as Changchun Yatai finished seventh in the Chinese Super League.

6. Junior Ajayi (Al Ahly/Egypt)

 

With most focused of Nigerian players abroad on the European-based stars, Junior Ajayi remained in the continent of Africa churning out impressive performances for Al Ahly of Egypt.

In 2017, the 21-year-old striker won the Egyptian Premier League and Egypt Cup double with Al Ahly. He was gunning for fantastic treble before losing with Al Ahly in the final of the CAF Champions League.

7. Obafemi Martins (Shanghai Shenhua/China)

 

Obafemi Martins had a very impactful 2017, playing a crucial role in Shanghai Shenhua’s Chinese FA Cup win.

Martins scored in the two legs of the final against Shanghai SIPG including a cracker in the second leg.

The veteran strike had an underwhelming year in the league but his massive impact for Shanghai Shenhua in their Chinese Cup win puts him on this list.

Martins is a kind of a cup specialist; he had won the League Cup in England with Birmingham City, Coppa Italia with Inter Milan and now the Chinese Cup with Shanghai Shenua.

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