Our football is declining seriously. while nationals of Countries like Senegal and Ivory Coast are making waves, our players are just a flash in the pan. Nane of Senegal netted 22, same with Sallah of Egypt and Aumabayang of Gabon, but mention our players’ none has reached double digits apart From Victor Osimhen who has scored 15 goals, the rest like Iwobi who have scored less than 10 goals are just making the numbers.
Compared them with Yakubu Aiyegbeni days who consistently was scoring in double digits in the tough English Premier League. By the time he left, he had scored 95 goals being the fifth highest none European that had scored in the EPL and the third African after Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Adebayor. Victor Ikpeba was another Nigeria who scored a total of 103 goals in Europe and the Middle East. Although Kanu Nwanko was a very influential player at Arsenal and Portsmouth he scored only 28 goals. Kanu Poor in scoring goals, but was a creative and intelligent player. Okocha though a midfielder, but was highly influential in all the clubs he played. At Frankfurt, he was the toss of the fan. In one match he dribbled everybody, including the goalkeeper, brought out the ball again before scoring. He contributed immensely in saving Blackburn from relegation. When he was in PSG with Ronaldinho, Okocha was a jewel of inestimable value and Ronaldinho confessed that most of his beautiful tricks were learned from Okocha.
After the golden era of these men, it has been below average performance by our stars on parade. Our players must raise the level of their play in order for Nigeria to be amongst the footballing nation of the world. Our standard has fallen so low to the extent that the last time a Nigerian won African footballer of the year award was 20 years ago ie 1999 and it was won by Kanu Nkwanko.
Let us pray that promising upcoming lads like Samuel Chukwueze of Villarreal shall change the football narrative of the country for good.