With the 23/24 UEFA Champions League season set to begin today, 6 Nigerian Players are expected to fly the country’s flag, representing various clubs gunning for Manchester City’s title.
Everyone of the 6 will be looking to following the footsteps of the likes of Nwankwo Kanu, Finidi George and John Mikel Obi – who lifted the prestigeous trophy for Ajax Amsterdam and Chelsea in the 94/95 and 2011/12 season respectively.
But who are this 6 Nigerian Players looking to not just perform on the European biggest stage at every chance they get but also looking to write their names in the sands of time like Nwankwo Kanu, Finidi George and John Mikel Obi?
Well, here are the 6 Nigerian football stars to look out for in this year’s competition, 5 of which have been senior appearances for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Victor Osimhen [Napoli, Italy]
Victor Osimhen’s Napoli will compete in Group C alongside Real Madrid, Sporting Braga and Union Berlin for a chance to make into the next round.
Osimhen and his colleague will kick off their UCL quest with a trip to Braga tomorrow – with the forward looking to spearhead the Serie A Champions to glory with his goals.
Samuel Chukwueze [AC Milan, Italy]
Samuel Chukwuezé’s AC Milan will be facing a sterner test in Group F of the season’s competition.
Stefano Pioli ‘s men will go head to head with the likes of Paris Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United for a place in the knock out round.
NoFirst of, Milan will commence their UCL campaign at the San Siro tonight were they will face a Newcastle United side returning to the competition after two decades out. Chukwueze is expected to feature in this game.
Zaidu Sanusi [FC Porto, Portugal]
Zaidu Sanusi ‘s FC Porto will compete in Group H alongside Barcelona, Royal Antwerp and Shakhtar Donetsk for a place in the next round.
Although Sanusi has yet to feature in most games for FC Porto this season, he will certainly get his chance and help the Portuguese outfit during the course of the group stage games.
F C Porto will begin their UCL quest as the away side when they take on Ukrainian Champions Shakhtar Donetsk tonight. It will be interesting to see who starts as the team’s left back between Zaidu Sanusi and Wendell.
Peter Olayinka [Red Star Belgrade, Serbia]
Peter Olayinka ‘s Red Star Belgrade has it all to do for a place in the knock out stage as they were paired in Group G alongside the competition’s defending champions in Manchester City, RB Leipzig and Young Boys.
with City in a League of their own at the moment and RB Leipzig a tough German outfit to compete against, Olayinka’s Red Star Belgrade will definitely face a real test when they come up against the two group favorite.
The battle to secure an unlikely knock out stage place for Peter Olayinka and Red Star Belgrade kicks off will a difficult game at the Etihad were they face Pep Guardiola’s City outfit today.
Sadiq Umar [ Real Sociedad, Spain]
Sadiq Umar’s Real Sociedad will come up against last year’s finalist Inter Milan, RB Salzburg and Benfica in Group D – with the Spanish club beginning their quest to atleast reach the knock out stage of the competition when they play host to Inter this Wednesday.
Having recovered from a long term lay off, Sadiq Umar will most certainly play a huge part for his Spanish club as they look to impress in this season’s competition.
Alhassan Yusuf [Royal Antwerp, Belgium]
Alhassan Yusuf’s Royal Antwerp as stated upwards will face a herculean task to oudo the likes of Barcelona, FC Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk and secure a place in the first knock out stage of the competition.
mark Van Bommel’s side are obviously the less fancied team in Group H except you believe they even stand a chance with the Ukrainian Champions when it comes to securing third place and a slot in the UEFA Europa League after the group stage games are concluded.
whatever happens, Alhassan Yusuf [yet to internationally represent Nigeria at senior level] will surely have a role to play for the Belgian Champions as they seek to do the unthinkable.
They [Royal Antwerp] kick off their UCL campaign with a tough game against Xavi Hernandez’s Barcelona at the Camp Nou tonight.