By Dipo Olowookere
Twenty-eight years after, memories of his life and times have faded out. Not even members of his primary constituency remembered to commemorate his skilful style last Saturday. But Cowbell Milk, the flagship brand of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, made the difference.
At that same main bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos, where Samuel Okwaraji slumped and died while in the colours of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Cowbell Football Academy (CFA) remembered the national hero exactly 28 years after.
And for kids and parents that participated at the final ceremony of the Cowbell Summer Camp, a programme organised by the CFA to groom young talents, it was a date with the history with the late midfielder looming large.
Among those who played at the final ceremony was Toyeeb Gidado Olakunle, who captained the Under-15 Team Nigeria at the Youth Olympics held in Botswana in 2014. Many people have nicknamed Toyeeb Nigeria’s rising Wonder Boy, a name once associated with Okwaraji.
The master of ceremonies reminded the crowd that it was in that main bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos that Okwaraji had a tragic end during Super Eagles’ encounter with Angola in a FIFA World Cup qualifier game.
Speaking at the event, ex-Super Eagles defender and Barcelona player, Gbenga Okunowo said the event was a positive memorial for Okwaraji. He said the young talents that participated in the event would, someday, replace Nigeria’s past heroes, if the national team managers paid attention to them.
“Many people do not remember Okwaraji anymore. So, this event is a good reminder. We cannot replace the late midfielder but the young talents I have seen could one day take his place in the national team,” he said.
Franklin Howard, another ex-Super Eagles player, said that Cowbell Summer Camp was a positive reminder of the last game Okwaraji played.
“If you watch very well, you would notice that this was how Nigerians gathered to watch the last game Okwaraji played. But it is a good reminder because many of the youths that are being trained by CFA can replace Okwaraji and other stars whose deaths or retirements have left a vacuum in the national team,” Howard said.
Marketing Manager, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Abiodun Ayodeji said the sponsorship was aimed at building responsible citizens. He added that the initiative was part of Promasidor’s support for the socio-economic development of the country.
“We are very keen in creating activities and platforms that will provide a total development opportunity for Nigerian children and youths. This is all about total development – whether in academic or extra-curricular activities,” Ayodeji explained.
CFA Rector, Godwin Dudu-Orumen said the academy had achieved outstanding records, which he attributed to Cowbell’s motivation and support.
Dudu-Orumen disclosed: “Two products of the academy have played for Under-15 national team. One of them, Toyeeb Gidado Olakunle, captained the Under-15 Team Nigeria at the Youth Olympics held in Botswana in 2014.
“Another CFA product, who was given a scholarship, has graduated from an American university, while the Lagos State Polytechnic is currently counting on seven other trainees, who were recently admitted into the school, to help develop its football team. These lofty achievements could not have been actualised without the support of Cowbell.”
Ten awards were given to outstanding individuals and teams for their impressive performance during training. Among the honours were the Cowbell Overall Wining Team Prize, Stephen Keshi’s Prize for Outstanding Leadership, Muda Lawal’s Prize for Most Hardworking participant and Rasheed Yekini’s Prize for Most Improved Player.
Police Drop Criminal Proceedings Against Man United’s Mason Greenwood
By Dipo Olowookere
The charges of assault against Manchester United forward, Mason Greenwood, have been dropped by the Greater Manchester Police.
A statement from the police said the criminal proceedings were dropped on Thursday against the 21-year-old English footballer, who was dropped from the first team after he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, Ms Harriet Robson, and attempting to force himself into her.
According to the GMP’s Head of Public Protection, Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, the CPS discontinued its investigation opened in January 2022 on Mr Greenwood.
“Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.
“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage and that this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail,” Mr Kerr was quoted as saying in the statement issued today.
“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them.
“An ever-increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training, and the force is more consistently utilising tools available via the criminal justice system to keep people safe and care for victims.
“If you feel you are or might be a victim, please don’t let this case put you off asking for help,” he said further.
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.
Sean Dyche Replaces Frank Lampard as Everton Manager
By Dipo Olowookere
Former manager of Burnley, Mr Sean Dyche, has been appointed as Everton manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract and now has the task of avoiding relegation to the Championship next season with the Toffees.
Frank Lampard was sacked as the manager of Everton this month after a 2-0 loss to West Ham in a league game, which left them 19th on the log.
The new boss at the Merseyside will want to restore confidence at the club and make an instant positive impact on Saturday, February 4, when his team faces Arsenal at Goodison Park.
“Kevin and I spent some valuable time with Sean over the past few days, and he quickly convinced me that he has exactly the right attributes to make himself a great Everton manager – and a man who could inspire our fanbase. And Farhad felt the same when he met him, too,” Everton Chairman, Mr Bill Kenwright, said of the appointment of Mr Dyche.
The retired footballer will be supported by former Nottingham Forest winger, Ian Woan, as his Assistant Manager, while ex-England international, Steve Stone, will serve as First-Team Coach, with Mark Howard joining the coaching staff.
“It’s an honour to become Everton manager. My staff and I are ready and eager to help get this great club back on track.
“I know about Everton’s passionate fanbase and how precious this club is to them. We’re ready to work and ready to give them what they want. That starts with sweat on the shirt, effort and getting back to some of the basic principles of what Everton Football Club has stood for a long time.
“We want to bring back a good feeling. We need the fans, we need unity, and we need everyone aligned. That starts with us as staff and players.
“Our aim is to put out a team that works, that fights and wears the badge with pride. The connection with the fans can then grow very quickly because they’re so passionate.
“There is quality in this squad. But we have to make them shine. That’s the job of my staff and me.
“We want to change the shape of this club going forward, remodel it in our style, but in a way that we can win. That’s the task in front of us – make sure we’re building, tactically and technically, giving players organisation, allowing them the freedom to play, to go and enjoy their football because it’s brilliant when the team’s playing with a smile, but we’ve got to win,” Mr Dyche said.
After a playing career as a centre-back spanning nearly two decades, Mr Dyche first became a coach at Watford, working his way up from the club’s under-18s to senior-team manager and guiding the Hornets to their best league position in four years in his first season in charge.
It was during almost 10 years at Burnley that he made his name as a top-class manager, building a competitive and energetic team that won promotion from the Championship in a record-breaking maiden campaign in 2013/14 and going on to consistently challenge the Premier League’s elite, helping the team finish seventh on the table in 2017/18 and qualifying for the Europa League.
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