By Adedapo Adesanya
Despite a very short outing at the just concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON), Nigeria made no movement in the February 2022 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking as it remained in the 36th position.
As the tournament came to a wrap on Sunday, it generated most of the movement in this year’s first edition of the ranking with champions, the Teranga Lions of Senegal continuing their ascent, climbing to 18th on the log.
Belgium (1, unchanged) remained in pole position ahead of Brazil (2, unchanged) and France (3, unchanged) while Argentina took over the 4th spot from England which fell to 5th on the FIFA Ranking.
Italy (6, unchanged), Spain (7, unchanged), Portugal (8, unchanged), Denmark (9, unchanged) and the Netherlands (10, unchanged) completed the Top 10.
Aside from Senegal, the highest-ranked African nation in the standings, Cameroon (38, + 12), who finished third at AFCON, and runners-up Egypt (34, + 11) had made the most significant moves within the Top 50.
Other notable movers were Canada (33, + 7) – a new high for the Canucks – and Costa Rica (42, + 7), with both enjoying strong performances during Qatar 2022 qualifiers in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) zone.
However, the biggest jump of all this month was by Gambia (125, + 25), the Scorpions ascending 25 places courtesy of their run to the quarter-finals at the African Cup tourney. Equatorial Guinea, who also reached the last eight at the tournament, climb 15 places and are now in the Top 100.
Other notable rises were those of Malawi (119, + 10) and Gabon (82, + 7). For their part, Mali (48, + 5) made more modest gains but nonetheless broke into the Top 50.
With eight of its teams now in the Top 50 (up 1 this edition), Confederation of African Football (CAF) has consolidated its third place in terms of confederation ranking, to the detriment of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) (4 teams in the Top 50, a fall of 1).
The other confederations have the same number of representatives as in the December 2021 Ranking: 26 for Union of European Football Association (UEFA), 8 for South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), 4 for CONCACAF and none for Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on March 31, 2022.
CAF Mulls Postponing AFCON 2023 in Cote d’Ivoire
By Adedapo Adesanya
The 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled to hold in Cote d’Ivoire may be postponed due to climate conditions.
A report from a French newspaper, Le Monde, claims the Confederation of African Football (CAF) is considering postponing the next edition of the continent’s flagship football championship.
The 17th edition of the continental championship, AFCON 2023, is scheduled for June 23 to July 23, 2023, in the West African nation.
Less than a year before kickoff, major cities in Ivory Coast are experiencing heavy rains with floods and CAF is beginning to admit that scheduling the competition in the middle of the rainy season may not necessarily be a bright idea.
“We are considering it; it is one of the possibilities,” admits CAF Secretary-General, Mr Veron Mosengo-Omba, interviewed by Le Monde.
“We asked Ivorian meteorologists to report to us on rainfall history in Côte d’Ivoire in June and July, but also to share their projections with us.”
With the 2022 World Cup billed for November 21 to December 18, 2022, it is impossible to push back the AFCON to January-February 2023 due to representatives set to represent the continent in Qatar.
There will be considerations for players who will not be able to participate in two major tournaments in the space of a few weeks.
The most likely alternative appears to be to postpone the AFCON to January-February 2024.
Climate disruptions appear to be the next worry for the African continent after the coronavirus pandemic halted the last tournament in Cameroon, which was later played earlier this year.
The subject is expected to be on the menu of the 44th Ordinary General Assembly of CAF scheduled for August 10 in Arusha, Tanzania.
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.
Nigeria Reverses Ban on International Basketball Competitions
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian authorities have reversed their decision to suspend the country’s basketball teams from all international competitions.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.
He explained that the decision to lift the ban on international basketball competitions was based on a letter of appeal from the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF), signed by Mr Musa Kida.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, being one that is committed to youth development and desirous of ensuring that they are availed of all opportunities in sports and other endeavours, considered the appeal and in the overriding spirit of national interest, love for our youth, and in order to avoid sending basket development into a long period of suspension when NBBF has now committed to the resolution of the issues which precipitated the withdrawal in the first place has approved the return of Nigeria to international basketball immediately,” Mr Abubakar said in a statement after the briefing.
“In securing this approval, of note is the caution that the laws of Nigeria cannot be subjugated to any other law, and every Nigerian entity must respect Nigerian laws and authority governing various sectors. Failure to do this, as with any constitutionally bound sovereign nation will attract sanctions,” he stated further.
He explained that the “appeal letter also critically gave some key undertakings: to immediately set in motion the process of status review or constitutional amendments from stakeholders as collated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development; to set up a high-powered team to reconcile all contending parties in the basketball family at home and abroad, and a commitment to work with the Ministry in the governance and development of basketball among other things.”
Mr Abubakar said President Buhari has mandated the ministry to ensure the implementation of the undertakings by the NBBF and “report back to Mr President on progress”.
Even with this, the Nigerian female basketball team has missed out on the window to participate in the upcoming Federation of International Basketball Association (FIBA) world cup.
Before the reversal of the ban, FIBA had replaced the D’Tigress with Mali ahead of the FIBA Women’s World Cup to be held later in the year in Australia.
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