By Adedapo Adesanya
Akwa United was on Sunday crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after defeating Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) FC with one game left to play at the top-flight competition.
The Promise Keepers defeated the Olukoya Boys 5-2 on home soil at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom to secure their first-ever league title.
The star of the match was Charles Atshimene who scored a hat-trick of goals to leave MFM FC winless in their last eight away matches.
Atshimene opened the scoring in the 24th minute followed by Alimi Adebayo’s own goal on the stroke of half-time which gave Kennedy Boboye coached side a two-goal advantage at the break.
Akwa United continued their goal-fest after the restart with Mfon Udoh making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute. In the 68th minute of the match, MFM pulled one goal back through a penalty converted by Michael Mbonu.
The game’s hero, Atshimene, extended the gap as he scored his second of the match in the 87th minute.
The Olukoya Boys responded four minutes later with their second goal in the encounter courtesy of Dennis Obasi in the 91st minute to make it 4-2.
To cap off the thrilling game, Atshimene got his hat-trick and 18th league goal of the season to complete the victory for the Promise Keepers in the 97th minute.
The win sealed Akwa United’s position at the top of the NPFL table with 71 points after 37 matches, nine points ahead of second-placed Nasarawa United, who are scheduled to play Enugu Rangers on Monday.
The triumph secured the Promise Keepers’ first-ever top-flight crown in their 25-year history and it has added to their trophy cabinet which has two FA Cups (2015 and 2017) and the Nigeria Super Cup (2016).
Akwa United will be hoping to stretch their nine-game unbeaten run and also end the 2020-21 campaign on a winning note when they visit Lobi Stars of Makurdi on Thursday.
Nigeria Faces FIBA Suspension After Withdrawal
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria may incur the wrath of the Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) after President Muhammadu Buhari withdrew the country’s national basketball teams from international competition for the next two years over factional disputes.
The decision carried out to help ensure sanity directly violates the non-interference statutes set out by FIBA.
Act 9.7 of the FIBA states, “National member federations shall manage their affairs independently and with no influence from third parties. In particular, they must ensure that their officials are either elected or appointed under a democratic process for a term of office of four (4) years.”
On Thursday, the Minister of Youths and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, represented by Ismaila Abubakar, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, said a committee would be set up to oversee basketball leagues in the country.
“Following the unending crisis which have plagued and nearly crippled the development of basketball in Nigeria, President Buhari has approved the withdrawal of Nigeria from all international basketball competitions for a period of two years.
“This is with immediate effect,” he said.
The Minister added that the withdrawal of Nigeria was to concentrate efforts by the government towards revamping the sport from the grassroots as well as domestic leagues which have become moribund.
“This will also allow for the setting up of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the management and development of the domestic basketball leagues in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr Dare also said this will further address other related issues around the development and advancement of the game in Nigeria.
He then called on stakeholders to help sustain and stabilise the game.
“In issuing the order, the Federal Government reiterates its interest and commitment to the development of the sport of basketball in Nigeria as well as huge talents of our youth domestically in an atmosphere free of rancour and squabbles.
“Government, therefore, calls on players, officials, fans and other stakeholders of the sport to remain calm as it embarks on far-reaching initiatives to reposition, sustain and stabilise the game of basketball.
“This will aid in the growth and success of the sport in the long-term interest of the country,” the minister said.
Nigeria’s basketball scene has been engulfed in a leadership crisis in the last five years.
Two parallel national federation board elections were held in 2017 (in Kano and Abuja) and 2022 (in Benin and Abuja), leading to the emergence of separate governing bodies.
If this withdrawal stands, this means that the men’s national team, D’Tigers will be out of the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifiers, where they currently lead their group.
The women’s side, D’Tigress, who have qualified for the World Cup scheduled for September in Australia, will also be unable to attend the tournament.
Highest Paid Nigerian Footballer – How Much Do Nigerian Footballers Earn
Highest-Paid footballer from Nigeria
The phrase “Naija no dey carry last” has been evident in football recently as there has been an influx of Nigerian footballers playing abroad. Football is the most popular sport in Nigeria with millions of fans supporting their clubs abroad. Nigeria has always been a home of incredible football talents and with more amazing young footballers showing in recent years, the weekly wages of Nigerian footballers has been on a rise.
The huge wages being paid to Nigerian footballers isn’t a surprise as the impact of the players is evident in those teams. Aside from the high wages they earn, Naija footballers are being traded for a huge amount of money. In the summer of 2020, Victor Oshimen became the most expensive African footballer of all time as he joined Napoli from Lille for about $80 million-plus add-on. Hardly any top European league without a Nigerian footballer performing at a high level and earning huge wages. A good sign for the Super Eagles as the national squad is now full of top talents.
We have decided to go on an adventure to reveal the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria, who are also featured in the best football predictions bettors will find on Takebet Nigeria. We have searched all leagues where Nigerian players compete, from European leagues such as English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga to other top leagues.
Let’s dig into the list of the highest-paid footballers from Nigeria.
Odion Ighalo – Striker, Al-Hilal – $170,000 (last know)
Odion Ighalo is one of the most popular Nigerian players. The striker became the first Nigerian international to play for Manchester United after he joined the club on loan from the Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020. Odion Ighalo scored five goals in 23 appearances before returning to Shanghai Shenhua at the end of his loan.
The Nigerian international joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab from the Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua in 2021. Ighalo scored 10 league goals in 19 appearances for Shanghai Shenhua. Odion made his debut in 2005 and moved to Europe in 2008 where he joined Udinese. The Nigerian international joined Watford during the 2014-15 and scored 36 league goals in 90 appearances for the club.
Odion Ighalo represented the Super Eagles during the 2018 World Cup. The Nigerian international holds the record for the most goals scored during a single Africa Cup of Nations with seven goals in 2019.
Ighalo earned $170,000 per week in Al Shabab. Odion Ighalo joins Al-Hilal, another Saudi football club, after the AFCON 2021. His salary in the new club is currently unknown, but the striker is sure to keep his #1 spot.
Victor Osimhen – Striker, Napoli – $110,000
Victor Osimhen is currently one of the best strikers in Europe. The Nigerian international has been amazing for Napoli this season after a slow start to life in the Italian Club. Victor Osimhen became the most expensive Africa striker in history after he joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80 million in the winter transfer of 2020.
The Napoli striker has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for the Italian side. Osimhen had an incredible rise to glory as he wasn’t able to join either Zulte Waregem or Club Brugge in his early days due to Malaria. Victor was in Nigeria’s under-17 team that won the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Boot in the tournament with 10 goals. He also won the Silver Ball award during the tournament.
Osimhen missed out on the 2018 World Cup squad. He made his debut for the national team in 2017. The Nigerian international made the squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and has been brilliant since then. He has scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for the national team.
Victor currently plays in Napoli and he earns $110,000 per week.
Wilfred Ndidi – Midfielder, Leicester City – $100,000
Wilfred Ndidi is currently one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. The Nigerian international has been incredible since he joined Leicester City from Genk in the winter transfer of 2017 for $20m. Ndidi has scored 10 goals in 196 appearances since he joined the club.
The Nigerian international won the most tackles in the Premier League (138) during the 2017-18 season. He also won the most tackles in the league in the following season of 2018-19. Wilfred Ndidi was an important player of the squad that won the 2020-21 FA Cup as they defeated Chelsea by a goal to nil.
Ndidi represented Nigeria during the 2016 Summer Olympics. He made the squad for the 2018 World Cup as they were knocked out in the group stage. Ndidi also represented the Super Eagles in the 2019 and 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. He has 47 caps for the Nigerian national team.
Wilfred Ndidi currently plays for Leicester City and earns $100,000 per week.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Striker, Leicester City – $80,000
Seniorman Kelz as he is widely regarded came into the limelight after an impressive outing during the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup. The Nigerian international won the Golden Ball award as the Super Eagles won the tournament. Iheanacho scored six goals during the competition as he won the Silver Boot.
Kelechi Iheanacho joined Manchester City in 2015. Iheanacho scored 21 goals in 64 appearances for Manchester City as he won the English Football League Cup. The Nigerian international joined Leicester City for a fee of about $30 million in the summer of 2017. Iheanacho was brilliant during the 2020-21 season as he scored 12 goals in the Premier League, overperforming his expected goals of 8.20.
Iheanacho represented Nigeria during the 2018 World Cup. The Leicester City striker also represented the Super Eagles during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Iheanacho has scored 12 goals in 42 appearances for the national team.
Kelechi Iheanacho currently plays for Leicester City and earns $80,000.
Alex Iwobi – Midfielder, Everton – $68,000
Alex Iwobi started his club career with Arsenal as he joined the youth team in 2004. The Nigerian international made his senior debut in 2015 for Arsenal against Sheffield Wednesday.
Iwobi scored 15 goals in 149 appearances for Arsenal as he spent four seasons with the senior team. The Nigerian international joined Everton from Arsenal for a fee of about $45 million in the summer of 2019. Iwobi won the FA Cup and two Community Shields with the Gunners. The Nigerian international has scored six goals in 80 appearances for Everton.
Alex made his international debut for Nigeria in 2015 although he started as a youth international for England. The Everton player has scored nine goals in 53 appearances for the Super Eagles. Iwobi scored the winning goal against Zambia to secure a spot for the Super Eagles in the 2018 World Cup. He was featured in the 2018 World Cup as Nigeria was knocked out in the group stage.
Iwobi played for the Super Eagles in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international was sent off in the Round of 16 of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as the Super Eagles suffered a 0-1 defeat to Tunisia.
Alex Iwobi currently plays for Everton and earns $68,000.
Victor Moses – Midfielder, Spartak Moscow – $56,000
Victor Moses was a popular player amongst Nigerian fans after he played a huge role in Chelsea’s Premier League triumph during the 2016-17 season. The Nigerian international started his club career in Crystal Palace before joining Wigan in 2010. Chelsea signed Moses in the summer of 2022 from Wigan. Moses went on loan to Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United before returning for the 2016-17 season.
The Nigerian international was converted to a right wing-back under Antonio Conte as Chelsea won the league. Moses was later loaned out to different teams such as Fenerbache, Inter Millan and Spartak Moscow. The latter club signed the player on a permanent basis in July 2021. Victor Moses scored 18 goals in 128 appearances while playing for Chelsea. He won the Premier League, FA Cup and two UEFA Europa League titles with the Blues.
Victor Moses scored 12 goals in 37 appearances for the Nigeria national team. The Spartak Moscow player was an important player in Nigeria’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations triumph. Moses featured for the Super Eagles in the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 World Cup where he scored a goal in the 1-2 defeat to Argentina.
Victor Moses currently plays for Spartak Moscow and earns $56,000.
Moses Simon – Winger, Nantes – $40,000
Moses Simon was Nigeria’s best player during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The Nigerian international started his senior club career with AS Trencin in 2014 where he scored 17 goals in 39 appearances before joining Gent in 2015. Moses scored 21 goals in 136 appearances with Gent as he spent four seasons at the club before joining Levante. The Nigerian international won the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup while in Gent.
Moses joined Levante on loan for the 2019-20 season with an option to buy. The deal was made permanent the following season as he signed a four-year deal. Moses has scored 17 goals in 85 appearances for Nantes.
Simon made his debut for the Super Eagles in 2015 against Uganda. He has scored six goals in 45 appearances for the national team. Simon represented Nigeria during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Highest paid Nigerian footballer FAQ
Who is the highest-paid footballer in Nigeria?
Odion Ighalo is the highest-paid Nigerian footballer. Ighalo joined Al Shabab from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2020 where he was being paid $402,000. The Nigerian international was the first player to play for Manchester United after he took a pay cut and received $200,000 to join the club on loan.
The Nigerian international was paid $170,000 in Al Shabab, and he is thought to stay in the same salary range in his new Saudi club, Al-Hilal, which he joins after the AFCON 2021.
Who is the richest Nigerian football player overall?
John Obi Mikel is the richest Nigerian footballer with a net worth of about $57 million. The Nigerian international is one of the greatest footballers in the country’s history. Mike Obi made his fortunes while playing for Chelsea in the Premier League. He spent 11 seasons at Chelsea where he scored six goals in 372 appearances for the club. Mikel won two Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League, three FA Cup, one English Football League Cup and one FA Community Shield during his time at Chelsea.
Mikel Obi is currently a free agent after his contract with Kuwait SC was terminated just four months after joining the club.
Who is the most expensive footballer from Nigeria?
Victor Osimhen is the most expensive Nigerian footballer. Osimhen joined Napoli from Lille for a fee of about $80m in 2020 after scoring 18 goals in 38 appearances for the French club. The Nigerian international has scored 19 goals in 45 appearances for Napoli. Osimhen is being paid $110,000 per week in Napoli.
Todd Boehly Led Consortium Buys Chelsea for £4.25bn
By Adedapo Adesanya
Chelsea Football Club has announced that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group led by an American investor, Mr Todd Boehly as well as Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjörg Wyss, to acquire the club for £4.25 billion.
In a statement, the London club confirmed that the purchase price of the club is £2.5 billion, with an additional £1.75 billion committed to further investments in the team.
This includes both stadiums (Stamford Bridge and Kingsmeadow), the Academy, the Women’s Team, and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation.
The group headed by the part-owner of the American baseball team, the LA Dodgers which includes backing from Clearlake Capital, a US investment firm – beat off late competition from £4.25 billion bidder Sir Jim Ratcliffe and other consortiums led by Stephen Pagliuca and Sir Martin Broughton.
The £2.5 billion will be “deposited into a frozen UK bank account with the intention to donate 100 per cent to charitable causes as confirmed by Roman Abramovich”, pending government approval of how to handle said frozen funds in the wake of sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
As reported this week, the club have also confirmed that the transaction will be completed in about two weeks “in late May”, subject to Premier League and Government approvals and licencing.
The acquisition confirms the end of the 18 years reign of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s era during which the club won 21 trophies, including two UEFA Champions Leagues.
The sale is expected to complete in late May subject to all necessary regulatory approvals.
The Premier League is meeting on June 8 to constitute the new season, by which time Chelsea would need to have a licence to be part of the next campaign.
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