It’s a very special month for fans and followers of Nigeria’s senior men’s national side, the Super Eagles. We take on two European nations in Poland and Serbia later this month, as preparation for the summer World Cup begins.
Coach of the team, Gernot Rohr, has released the list of 28 invited players for these two games, and aclsports.com will be looking at how these players are performing for their respective clubs, with special focus on those playing in Europe.
So, here is how the weekend went for most of them, as we start with a trip to Italy, where midfielder, Joel Obi plies his trade.
It wasn’t the best of starts to the weekend, as three of the 28 invited players started on a losing note on Friday, with just one of the three actually featuring for his side.
Joel Obi‘s return to the Super Eagles after a four-year hiatus, due to injuries, has been greeted with much fanfare, but he celebrated by sitting out of his side, Torino’s game on Friday.
Torino were thrashed 3-0 by an imperious AS Roma, with Obi, who has been a constant presence in midfield for Walter Mazzarri’s men since his return to fitness, missing that game due to another injury, a thigh problem.
Another player who missed his side’s game on Friday was Leon Balogun, he was suspended following the sending off the previous week; Mainz 05 suffered a 1-0 defeat to Schalke 04.
The reliable defender was solely missed as his club lost for the 13th time this season.
In Russia, Russian-born Bryan Idowu was on from start to finish, but despite showing his versatility by playing as one of three center backs, he was unable to save his nine-man side, Amkar Perm, from defeat.
Amkar lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal Tula, on parade also were Idowu’s compatriots at the club, the duo of Aaron Samuel, and second half substitute, Fegor Ogude, who lasted just two minutes before he was shown a Straight red card.
Victor Moses, Chelsea
With their eyes firmly focused on not only securing a place in Europe next season, but also their Champions League round of 16 second leg tie against Barcelona in midweek, champions of the English Premier League, Chelsea, chose to rest some important players when they welcomed Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
One the players rested was our own Victor Moses, who watched the entire game from the bench as the Blues were pushed hard before seeing off the Eagles 2-1 at home.
Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City
It was a beautiful weekend for the duo of Ndidi and Iheanacho, who helped their side, Leicester City to a comfortable 4-1 win against West Brom Albion at the Hawthorns.
It wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests, as the Foxes were made to do it the hard way- coming from a goal down, with Iheanacho heavily involved.
After Jamie Vardy had equalised for the Foxes, Iheanacho was thrown in by his manager, Claude Puel, on the hour mark and with just two minutes spent on the pitch, he set up Riyad Mahrez for Leicester’s second.
13minutes later, it was Iheanacho’s turn to grab a goal, as he put the game beyond their host by scoring a third for the visitors, his first PL goal for the club since his move from Manchester City.
What a great team performance ?⚽ Very happy to have scored my first Premier League goal for @lcfc ? To celebrate I’m doing a little giveaway to say thank you for all your fantastic support. All you need to do is like this post and comment with the hashtag #Kel8 until Monday pic.twitter.com/PNbH8Uw7kL
— Kelechi Iheanacho (@67Kelechi) March 10, 2018
Vincente Iborra completed the rout, but what a way to celebrate your callup to the national side by sending a message to your manager.
Meanwhile, Iheanacho’s fellow Nigerian at the club, Ndidi, was his usual self, showing why his manager thinks of him as very ‘important’ to the Foxes.
The 21-year-old defensive midfielder, who was booked in that game, finished the game with 10 duels won, including three interceptions, 1 tackle and five headed duels won.
Alex Iwobi, Arsenal
Things haven’t gone the way our dear playmaker, Alex Iwobi would have loved lately, as he seems to be going further down the plans of his under-fire manager, Arsene Wenger.
Iwobi hasn’t tasted a second of action since his woeful outing against Brighton and Hove Albion, a game the Gunners lost 2-1.
He was not even listed this time for their 3-0 win over Watford at the Emirates on Sunday, after watching from start to finish their 2-0 win in the Europa League against AC Milan.
Ola Aina, Hull City
Completing our contingent in England is versatile defender, Ola Aina, who played the entire 90minutes as the Tigers were engaged in a seven-goal thriller with Norwich City at the KCOM.
It wasn’t the best of displays from Aina, despite finishing the game with five interceptions, as Hull came from behind twice to edge Norwich City 4-3.
Oghenekaro Etebo, Las Palmas
Time is running out on Etebo and his team mates at Las Palmas, who continue to plunge deeper into relegation after their latest defeat.
Las Palmas were beaten 2-0 at home by Villarreal, with Etebo given a run out once again.
The on-loan player, who told aclsports.com in an exclusive interview that he prefers to play behind the striker, had an average game in a central midfield role, but was very tidy in possession for his side, completing 95% of his passes, with two interceptions won.
Chidozie Awaziem, Nantes
Awaziem returned to his familiar role at the heart of defense, posting a performance that saw him rated as one of Nantes’ best players in their 1-0 win over Troyes in the Ligue 1.
He won 100% of his tackles, four headed duels, and completed 100% of his attempted dribbles, but needs to do better with his long passes, after competing just two of 10 attempted.
It was his 19th league game of the season, with a goal and an assist to his name.
Elderson Echiejile, Cercle Brugge
Left back, Echiejile was conspicuously missing as his Belgian division two team, Cercle returned to winning ways courtesy of a 3-1 win over Beerschot-Wilrijk.
Simon Moses, Gent
Winger, Simon started his first game for Gent since his return from injury, and played for 90minutes as they defeated Genk 2-1 away.
However, the Super Eagle was outshone by his little known compatriot at the club, Samuel Kalu, who assisted one their goals, and scored the other.
Uche Agbo, Standard Liege
One player who has enjoyed enough game time this season is defensive midfielder-cum defender, Uche Agbo, but he played for just 15minutes last weekend as his side came from two goals down to beat their hosts, Oostende 3-2.
Uche came on in the 75th minute, after his side had scored all three goals, but played a pivotal role as they held on for the win.
Ex-Super Eagle, Joseph Akpala, scored the second goal for the home side, but it was Uche who had the last laugh.
Tyroone Ebuehi, ADO Den Haag
He’s been one of our most consistent players in Europe this season, but Ebuehi was helpless as his club ADO were convincingly defeated 2-0 in front of their own fans.
Albeit, they had to play most of the game with ten men after one of his team mates was sent off in the first half.
John Ogu, Hapoel Beer Sheva
John Ogu featured for the duration of the game, helping his side to a much needed 2-0 win over Bnei Sakhin.
Ahmed Musa, CSKA Moscow
Musa has indeed found favour in Russia, after starting yet again game for his Russian club, CSKA.
However, Musa, on loan from Leicester played no part in the goals as CSKA thrashed FK Akhmat 3-0.
William-Troost Ekong, Mikel Agu, and Shehu Abdullahi, Bursaspor
Right back, Shehu Abdullahi didn’t get the perfect early birthday present as his club Bursaspor lost 2-1 to Osmanlispor in the Turkish Super Lig.
Fellow Nigerian, Umar Aminu, who played for the home side, ensured Shehu and his other compatriot, Mikel, left as they came, empty handed.
While both Shehu and Mikel lasted the 90, Ekong missed the encounter due to suspension.
Kenneth Omeruo, Kasimpasa
Omeruo featured from start to finish as Kasimpasa held their hosts, Sivasspor to a 2-2 draw, in what was Omeruo’s 20th game of the campaign for Kasimpasa.
Ogenyi Onazi, Trabzonspor
He may be Super Eagles’ vice captain, but at his Turkish club, Onazi was a spectator as Besiktas came, saw and conquered them 2-0.
It was the second game in a row Onazi will be starting on the bench, after he came on in stoppage time against Alanyaspor the last time.