We continue in our usual tradition to rate the performances of the Top 30 Nigerian stars after another eventful campaign overseas by the country’s ambassadors.
25: Odion Ighalo
Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)
27 Appearances, 19 Goals, 2 Assists
Both the former Super Eagles striker and his Saudi Arabian club failed to match the exploits of the previous season when they won the league title and Ighalo finished top scorer. This past campaign Al Hilal finished a distant third and their Nigeria striker lost his Goal King crown after he scored a goal shy of what he achieved the previous season. Al Hilal were beaten in the final of the AFC Champions League, but won the King’s Cup. Ighalo is now a free agent after his contract was not renewed by the Riyadh club.
24: Josh Maja
Bordeaux (Ligue 2)
37 Appearances, 16 Goals, 6 Assists
The Super Eagles striker netted 16 goals and provided six assists in 37 appearances in the French second-tier league with Bordeaux last season. However, his club missed out on a prompt return to Ligue 1. The England-born striker is now a free agent as his contract has ran out.
23: Frank Onyeka
Brentford (Premier League)
21 Appearances, 2 Assists
Onyeka, 25, played a game more than he did the previous season as his London club again stayed up in the Premier League. He was decent for ‘The Bees’ and could have enjoyed more game time but for injury. He still has three years to fully establish himself in the Premier League. He featured for the Super Eagles in three 2023 AFCON qualifiers as well as friendlies against Algeria and Portugal late last year to add to his dozen international caps.
22: Peter Olayinka
Slavia Praha (Czech Rep)
21 Appearances, 11 Goals, 5 Assists
Olayinka,27, dreamt of another league and cup double in his farewell season with Slavia Praha, but it was not meant to be as city rivals Sparta beat them to the league crown and Slavia could only hold on to the cup. He has a special place in the history of Slavia after five momentous years there. Despite a four-match suspension, he grabbed 11 goals, which was almost double the tally he managed in the 2021/2022 season. He also contributed two goals on the way to the cup triumph. He has now cashed on his time in the Czech Republic with a lucrative three-year contract at top Serbian club Red Star Belgrade as a free agent.
21: Henry Onyekuru
Adana Demirspor (Turkey)
28 Appearances, 8 Goals, 3 Assists
The nippy forward has revived his career in Turkey, where he previously enjoyed success with Galatasaray. His loan transfer from Olympiacos has now been made permanent by Adana Demirspor after they qualified to feature in the UEFA Europa Conference League by virtue of placing fourth in the Turkish Super Lig. He will now be expected to build on this performance come the new season.