Currently one of the best defenders in African football, Kenneth Omeruo who is a senior member of the present Super Eagles team was born on October 17, 1993, in Abia State. Omeruo who was a key part of the Golden Eaglets squad that finished second at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria, made his debut for the Super Eagles at the age of 19 in an international friendly against Cape Verde on January 9, 2013. Handed an invitation to be part of the 2013 AFCON Super Eagles squad by late coach Stephen Keshi, Omeruo would go on to win the tournament with Nigeria, and also feature at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
He featured in his second FIFA World Cup with the Super Eagles in Russia 2018, and played a vital role in the bronze-winning Super Eagles 2019 AFCON team in Egypt. At just the age of 26, Omeruo has won an AFCON title with the Nigerian national team, featured in two FIFA World Cup tournaments and currently has a total of 52 caps for Nigeria, stated that he aims to surpass the record set by Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama of 101 caps for Nigeria.
At the club level, Omeruo who has been outstanding for Leganes of Spain, started professionally at Standard Liege in 2010, before getting signed by English Premier League giants, Chelsea FC in 2012. Omeruo during his time at Chelsea (2012-2019) had loan spells at numerous European sides like Ado Den Haag of Netherlands (2012-2013), Middlesbrough of England (2014-2015), Kasimpasa of Turkey (2015-2016), Alanyaspor of Turkey (2016-2017), Kasimpasa (2017-2018), Leganes of Spain (2018-2019) before sealing a permanent deal with the Spanish La Liga side in the summer of 2019.
Read more about Nigeria in Detail
Joy Udo Gabriel
20 year-old Joy Udo-Gabriel was born on June 2, 1999 in Abia State. The young Nigerian sprinter made the waves in 2018 after winning a bronze medal in the 100 metres event at the 2018 African Championships in Athletics, which was held in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. She would go on to win bronze in the 4×100 metres relay event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, before clinching a gold medal in the 4×100 metres relay at the 2019 All Africa Games in Morrocco.
Currently a student in the University of Lagos, Udo-Gabriel was discovered at the Making of Champions (MoC) Sprinter Auditions held in Benin, Edo State, in 2015. Noticing her passion for athletics at an early age, Udo-Gabriel competed and won several medals at State and National levels while still in secondary school. At the 2014 National Schools Sports Festival in Benue State, she won silver in the 100m race, and won gold in the 4x100m relay.
After being crowned the fastest schoolgirl in Lagos State, 2015, for stopping the clock at 12.91 seconds in the 100m race at the Lagos State Secondary School Sports Festival, she would go on to win her 100m race in a time of 12.5 seconds in the Benin Auditions in 2015 before finishing fourth in the Lagos Finals in October 2015.
Witnessing massive improvement under the tutelage of Deji Aliu, Nigerian Olympic medallist, her first major triumph was at the National Junior Championships in 2016 where she won her heat. Joy Udo-Gabriel is currently on scholarship from the MoC which is being sponsored by renowned oil and gas company, ARCO Group, while we await what she has for us at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics in Japan.
Sign up t the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter
A US-based former Nigerian athlete, Victor Okorie hails from Achara-Ihechiowa in Arochukwu Local Government Area in Abia State. Okorie was one of the gifted hurdlers who rose to prominence from the Nigerian school sports system in the 90s, ruling the National Sports Festival after back to back victories in the 400m hurdles in the Imo ’98 and Bauchi ‘2000 Sports Festivals. He went further to win silver in the 400mh for Team Nigeria at the COJA, 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria.
The highlight of his career was in June 2003 when he made headlines in the United States after setting a record of 49.19 seconds in the 400m hurdles in Sacramento, California, defeating all contenders in the South-Eastern Conference. Victor Okorie for more than a decade, held the record in 400m hurdle for the Middle Tennessee State University and Sunbelt Conference.
Samuel Chukwueze, 20, was born in Umuahia, the capital of Abia state on May 22, 1999. A mainstay in the 2015 World Cup winning Golden Eaglets squad, Chukwueze who made his debut for the Super Eagles in a goalless international friendly against Uganda on November 20, 2018, was part of the bronze winning Eagles squad at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt. He has been tipped to become one of the greatest Nigerian footballers of all time in the near future. He plays his club football for Villareal in the topflight of the Spanish football league, La Liga.
Chukwueze joined his current club, Villareal CF of Spain from Abia based soccer academy, Diamond Football Academy in 2017. A string of decent performances in the club’s Juvenil A squad saw him make his debut for the club’s reserve team on April 15, 2018, in a Spanish Segunda Division B 1-1 away draw against CE Sabadell FC. Having impressed at that level, he made his senior debut for the club on September 20, 2018, against Rangers of Scotland in a UEFA Europa League clash, and made his first La Liga debut against Levante on November 5, 2018, scored his first senior league goal for the Yellow Submarines on November 11, 2018, against Rayo Vallecano in a 2-2 draw, and has never looked back since then.
In April 2019, Chukwueze claimed the Nigeria Football Federation 2018 Young Player of the Year award. European highest football ruling body, UEFA, named Chukwueze in its 50 for the future list to watch out for in the 2019/2020 season. He has been tipped to become one of the greatest Nigerian footballers of all time in the near future.
Featured Image Source: Voice of Nigeria
Did you find this article useful? Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org