Football

ABZ Naija Team of the Season

ABZ looks at the best Nigerian players who stood out among others in the just-concluded season, including a look at the Nigerian Professional Football League. We will be looking at a 3-4-3 formation.

Goalkeeper:

Maduka Okoye | The 21-year-old goalkeeper had a brilliant debut season. He made important saves for Sparta Rotterdam, keeping 10 clean sheets in 28 league matches.

Defenders:

Ola Aina | The versatile player had a lovely season with relegated Fulham. He played everywhere at the back for the London club when needed, and he scored a goal of the season contender. He made 31 appearances in the Premier League.

Zaidu Sanusi | The left-back had a superb season with FC Porto – although they could not win the Portuguese league – Sanusi was brilliant. The Kebbi-born defender featured 41 times for Porto in all competitions and was part of the team that got to the Champions League semifinal.

William Troost-Ekong | The Netherlands-born defender was a force at the back for Watford in their Premier League return season. He was a solid rock at the back, helping the Hornets keep 16 clean sheets in the 31 Championship matches he started.

Midfielder:

Anayo Iwuala | The 22-year-old rising star is having the best season of his career, and he is not showing any signs of slowing down. He is arguably the best player in the Nigeria Professional Football League, and he has played 29 games for Enyimba, 17 of them in the NPFL.

Wilfred Ndidi | The 24-year-old is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and he was vital for Leicester as they won the FA Cup and finished fifth on the log to qualify for the UEFA Europa League. He made 36 appearances in all competitions.

Joseph Aribo | Joe is one of the most versatile Nigerian midfielders. His end to end football played a key role in Rangers FC winning their first league title in 10 years. He had 42 caps for The Teddy Bears in all competitions, including nine in the Europa League.

Kelechi Iheanacho | Seniorman Kelz had his best season so far in English football, which won him, player of the month, once and he also won the goal of the month once. His resurgence in the second half of the season was evident for all to see, scoring 14 goals in the last 15 games for the Foxes. In all, he scored 19 goals in 39 games, providing 7 assists.

Forward:

Asisat Oshoala | Super Zee is arguably the greatest African women player of all time and she had her best trophy-laden season with Barcelona Femeni, winning the treble – Primera Iberdrola, Champions League, and Copa de la Reina – with Oshoala scoring 20 goals in 31 matches for the Catalan giants.

Simy Nwankwo | The 2018 FIFA World Cup star hit his best numbers for relegated Crotone in the Serie A, and he made his mark. Despite his team dropping to the lower division, he was the sixth top scorer in the league with 20 goals in 38 matches.

Paul Onuachu | The lanky striker is the most prolific Nigerian striker, winning the top scorer in Belgium and also the Player of the Year. He scored 35 goals in 41 matches for Genk in all competitions, and his goals helped his side win the Belgian league.

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