NIGERIA POWER RANKING

Osimhen, Simon among top performers in February

An exhaustive monthly ranking of Nigerian footballers plying their trades all around the world, based on their performances.

Victor Osimhen and Moses Simon among the top Nigerian stars in February

February 2022 proved to be a productive month for Nigerian players plying their trade outside the country, an improvement on last month.

As a result, there are 12 new entries compared to the January power ranking, here are the top 20 Nigerian performers.

With just one win in five games, February was not a great month for relegation-threatened Watford, and neither was it for their star striker Emmanuel Dennis.

His only goal in the month proved the most important though, which is why he barely makes this list. Dennis scored the only goal in a 1-0 win against Aston Villa to keep Watford’s survival hopes alive.

Olisa Ndah has been in imperial form since his return from AFCON duty (where he barely played) putting up superb displays for Orlando Pirates in the South African Premier League and the CAF Champions League.

The 24-year old centre-back played every minute of Orlando Pirates’ five games in February and contributed immensely to three win and three clean sheets.

Valentine Ozornwafor has become a key player for Royal Charleroi since joining on loan from Galatasaray and he kept up that trend with a strong February.

The centre-back started all four league games within this period and played the full 90 minutes in all but the 3-0 loss to Royale USG where he was taken off injured. He was involved in two wins and a clean sheet and averaged a 7/10 match rating.

Despite starting the month with a shoddy performance in a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Old Firm rivals, Celtic, Joe Aribo went on to have a good month for Rangers with multiple solid displays.

Aribo scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw away at Dundee United and notched an assist in the 4-2 first leg win over Dortmund in the Europa League playoffs.

23-year old striker, Tosin Aiyegun has scored one goal and provided two assists for Zurich in four games last month and is one of the fastest-rising players in the Switzerland Super League.

The latest Super Eagle in town was good for Leicester City in the same month he pledged allegiance to Nigeria, with a goal and an assist in three starts across multiple competitions.

Having only just signed for Slavia Prague from Banik Ostrava towards the end of the January transfer window, 21-year old Yira Sor made his first start for his new team against Fenerbahce in the Europa Conference League playoffs.

Sor assisted a goal in the first leg and scored a brace in the second leg to help Slavia Prague secure 3-2 wins in both games.

Be it as a left-back or centre-back, Calvin Bassey continues to impress under new Ranger boss, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst.

22-year old Bassey started and played seven full games returning two assists, one for a late equaliser by compatriot, Joe Aribo against Dundee United and the other in a 4-2 win against Borussia Dortmund.

Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has only scored four goals since joining Fatih Karamguruk last summer, and half of those goals came in February.

Musa scored in a crazy Turkish cup game against Konyaspor which they won 5-4. His other goal came in the league: the match-winner in a 2-1 win against Istanbul Basaksehir.

PSV winger, Noni Madueke notched two goals and assists each in seven games last month. In doing so, he joined Arjen Robben and Memphis Depay as the only teenagers to score at least 10 Eredivisie goals.

Tosin Adarabioyo was the defensive anchor for Fulham in a near-perfect month in the English Championship where they won four out of five, kept three clean sheets and conceded just three goals.

The only blemish on his stellar record was the 4-1 FA Cup thrashing against Manchester City, Tosin’s former club.

29-year old striker Freddie Ladapo is a good reason for Rotherham’s high-flying League One season and he carried on that red-hot form in February.

Ladapo scored three goals in four games including a brace in a 2-0 win against Morecambe.

Super Eagles’ star striker Victor Osimhen had an eventful month with two important goals and other contributions in four games.

Osimhen scored in his first start upon return from injury in a 2-0 win over Venezia and then came off the bench to score a late equaliser against Cagliari two games later.

In the game before that, Osimhen won a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan and fired blanks in both Europa League playoff games against Barcelona.

25-year old striker, Blessing Eleke has been a blessing for Genclerbirligi in the Turkish second division this season with seven goals in 19 appearances so far.

Three of those goals were scored last month, the first was the decisive goal in a 2-1 win against Altinordu after which he scored a brace to help Genclerbirligi beat Balikesirspor 2-0.

Ayo Obileye scored for Livingston in an unexpected 2-1 win over Aberdeen, further solidifying his importance with his sixth goal in 34 appearances in all competitions this season.

The centre-back’s keen eye for goal does not hinder his primary duty, he has been a rock in the defence all season long and contributed immensely to the clean sheet in a 4-0 win over Dundee.

Since moving across Qatar from Al Shabab to Al Hilal, Odion Ighalo has scored four goals in his first five games for his new club, all in February.

The veteran striker scored a brace against his former club and scored once in a 6-1 thrashing of Al Jazira in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup.

Moses Simon carried on his terrific AFCON 2021 form into club football, he scored a game-winning freekick against Reims and outperformed the superstars of PSG to help Nantes secure a stunning 3-1 in which he assisted one of the goals.

Paul Onuachu overcame the hamstring injury which kept him out of AFCON 2021 and breath new life into Genk’s season with three goals and three assists in six games in February.

Trabzonspor won all four games in February and opened a 17-point gap at the top of the Turkish Super Lig largely thanks to the heroics of Anthony Nwakaeme.

The left-winger scored three goals and provided two assists in those four games proving to be a menacing opponent for any opposing full-back.

February has been vey good to Sadiq Umar, the striker scored in all four games last month for Almeria in the Spanish second division.

Umar was practically unplayable with five goals and two assists and two of his goals being match winners and helping Almeria to a four-game winning streak. There is no better Nigerian player anywhere in the world right now than Sadiq Umar.

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