Top 5 U-23 Nigerian players
Nigeria has been home to some of the finest footballers Africa has ever seen, the state’s system of producing footballers date back to the early 1930’s where random games and amateur leagues were common. In the late 80’s through to 1996, under the management of Clemens Westerhof, Nigerian football took a turn for the best in the way they operated in producing players and conducting footballing activities.
The philosophy of producing and unearthing young talent is a meticulous process completed over an extended period of time. The Nigerian Football Federation introduced camps, drills and standard health manuals for young players to adhere too.
On the international stage, the national team made their first-ever appearance in the 1994 World Cup in the USA. However, an agonising late goal from Italian great Roberto Baggio sent the Super Eagles home, narrowly missing out on the quarters and crashing out of the World Cup in the round of 16.
The Nigerian Football Federation, impressed with the display of the national team on the grandest stage of them all, the World Cup, continued their pursuit to help Nigeria build a strong foundation for young players to come through.
Indeed they did, as Nigeria’s U-23 side won the gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta just two years following their exit in the round of 16 in the 1994 USA World Cup.
Nigeria has gone on to appear in five of the six World Cups since 1994, and has continued to produce players of the highest calibre going on to compete in top leagues around the world.
We take a look at five of the best current U-23 Nigerian players in the world.
#5 Isaac Success
The 20-year-old Nigerian forward was Watford’s record signing from Granada for £12.5m, by new manager Walter Mazzarri earlier this summer. The club signed the youngster to a five-year deal with the club.
Mazzarri, an experienced manager in the game, is confident of Success’s ability to cope with the pressures of the English’s game and perform at the highest level week in week out, and said that it will take some time for Success to adapt and settle into his new surroundings.
(Video Courtesy: miroP10 YouTube Channel)
The Nigerian had made a single appearance in the Premier League so far this campaign, coming off the bench to score a goal.
The young forward has bags of pace and potential to cause defences all sorts of problems. With Deeney and Ighalo to learn from, Success’s development as a player is going to improve by leaps and bounds making him a player to look out for in the future.