With the year gradually winding down, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JOHNNY EDWARD highlights the top five Nigerian football players who failed to light up the year despite arriving with much hype and promise…
1. EFE AMBROSE
CURRENT CLUB: CELTIC FC
POSITION: Right back
Super Eagles, right-back, Afe Ambrose has become such a liability for Celtic , so much so that he has not been considered for a game in the Scottish Premier League this season. Ambrose who has only made two appearances for the Hoops this season in the the UEFA Champions League qualifying round, could be well on his way out of the club in January.
This year the Nigerian has made 13 appearances in all competitions (six as substitutes) compared to 38 games he starred in as Celtic won the Scottish League Championship for a record 47th time in the history of the country's football.
2. JUWON OSHANIWA
CURRENT CLUB: Heart of Midlothian
Super Eagles left-back, Juwon Oshaniwa lost his place to Moroccan defender, Faycal Rherras this season. Oshaniwa who only returned to the substitute's bench for the first time since August has made only ten appearances in this calender year for Heart of Midlothian.
His last game for the club was in May when he starred in Hearts' 2-2 draw at home to St Johnstone. Since joining from Israeli side in 2015, Oshaniwa has made 25 appearances in all competitions in two seasons. He is expected to move away from the club in search of first team action when the January transfer window reopens in a fort night.
3. JOHN MIKEL OBI
CURRENT CLUB: Chelsea
Another Nigeria international whose football career trajectory is on a decline is John Mikel Obi. The 29 year old who is into the final six months of his contract at Chelsea hasn't featured for the Blues this season, paving way for the Super Eagles captain to move when the January window reopens.
In the outgoing year, Mikel only made 24 appearances which was in the second half of last season. Though he has been ever present for the Super Eagles in all games in this year, Mikel has not made The Blues' substitute bench since the start of the season. He has since been linked with several teams in France, Turkey, Italy and China.
4. ODION IGHALO
CURRENT CLUB: Watford
No doubts, Odion Ighalo still retains his admirers having turned down a £37.5 million bid from Shanghai SIPG to extend his deal at Vicarage Road in the summer. After firing blanks in his first two games of the 2016/17 season, Ighalo returned to scoring form for Watford in his third game as the Hornets defeated West Ham 4-2. That goal was in his 37th appearances.
CURRENT CLUB: LILLE
Vincent Enyeama is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers the French Ligue 1. The former Nigeria captain's impressive run of top form ended after 1,062 minutes – 18 clean sheets that season. Enyeama was 115 minutes shy of Gaëtan Huard’s record of clean sheets in consecutive matches in Ligue 1. Huard went 1,176 minutes without conceding in France with Girondins de Bordeaux in the 1992/93 season. Since then his record of clean sheet has dropped.
The 34 year old, in this outgoing year, has kept lesser clean sheets (11) compared to last year when he had more (16) though in terms of goals conceded he let in more in 2015 (41) than in 2016 (39) from the same number of games (42). This season he has only kept four clean sheet while this time last year he had kept eight clean sheets.
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