How Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, Osaze Odemwingie, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho won their Premier League's Player of the Month awards

A breakdown of how Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha, Osaze Odwmingie, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho won Premier League's Player of the Month.

Kelechi Iheanacho and Odion Ighalo are among the four Nigerian players who have won the Premier League's Player of the Month award  (Instagram/Action Images)

The Premier League's Player of the Month is the award given to the best player in the league in the span of a year.

The winner is chosen by a combination of an online public vote, which contributes to 10% of the final tally, a panel of experts, and the captain of each Premier League club.

Nigeria has a decent number of wins in this award. This increased on Friday, April 2, 2021, when Kelechi Iheanacho was named Player of the Month after a string of fantastic performances.

The Nigeria international scored five goals in three Premier League games in March.

The 24-year-old striker scored in all the Premier League games he played in March, including the hattrick against Sheffield United on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

He has been crucial for Leicester City amidst a slew of injuries in the team.

He prevented Leicester City's loss with his goal away to Burnley, which ended 1-1. Three days later, he scored an equaliser away at Brighton before the hattrick at home against Sheffield United.

With Iheanacho's win, he became the fourth Nigerian player to get this accolade.

Who are the other players, and how many times did they win it?

Ridiculously talented with a bag of skills, Jay Jay Okocha stunned Premier League watchers when he joined Bolton in 2002.

After an impressive debut season, he took on the captain band and led Bolton on and off the pitch.

After a poor start to the 2003/2004 season, it was in November that the Nigerian played some of his best football for Bolton.

The month started with a 1-0 win over Tottenham, a game Okocha controlled from start to finish.

At times in that game, you could see a player who read the game at a completely different speed and in far greater depth, than almost everyone on the pitch.

"Okocha reminded Spurs how to pass, move and beat opponents with the ball," the UK Guardian said about his performance against Tottenham.

The only surprise was that he didn't score in that game where he struck the crossbar three times.

He continued like that for the rest of the month with strong performances in the wins against Leeds and Everton.

Just before that month, Bolton had just one win and were languishing in the relegation positions before Okocha dragged them to three wins in that month.

That was how he got the Premier League's Player of the Month.

Osaze Odemwingie took to the Premier League like a duck to water, scoring on his debut for West Brom and going on to have a solid two years at the club.

The way Odemwingie thrived at West Brom suggests he would have made the move to the Premier League earlier in this career.

He was the perfect Premier League forward; blessed with a bust of pace, quick feet and excellent finish, the Nigerian never for a second looked out of place in the English topflight.

A month after he joined West Brom, he got the Player of the Month award; In that September, he scored in two out of three league games, including the Baggies' famous win away at Arsenal.

Later that season, Odemwingie got the gong again with four goals in five Premier League games.

He scored against Chelsea and away at Tottenham.

In his sophomore season at West Brom, Odemingie got the trophy one more time.

That month, the Nigerian scored a hattrick in the Baggies' 5-0 win away at Wolves and, in the next game, scored a brace in home 4-0 win over Sunderland.

Before his underwhelming stint at Manchester United, Odion Ighalo tore the Premier League apart with goals in his first season in the English topflight.

In the 2015/2016 season, Ighalo scored 15 goals. Five of those goals came in December 2015 alone to get him the Player of the Month award.

The month started with a late-minute goal in a 2-0 win over Norwich. In the next game, he scored the winner in a 1-0 win away at Sunderland.

In a 3-0 win against Liverpool, the Nigerian got a brace before another goal in a 2-1 loss away at Tottenham to round up the month.


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