By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerian international footballer, Kelechi Nwakali, has called out his former club, SD Huesca Football Club, over the termination of his contract after he honoured the call to wear the Super Eagles shirt at the recently concluded African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
In an official statement via his official Twitter account on Wednesday, the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner narrated his ordeal at the hands of the club’s sporting director, Mr Ruben Garcia.
Nwakali alleged that following his call up in December last year, Mr Garcia, “put extreme pressure on me not to go to AFCON due to it ‘not being an important tournament’. He told me that if I go to AFCON, I will not play for Huesca again.”
He claimed that the club had applied several bullying tactics to get him to sign a new contract, accusing them of going as far as delaying his wages to get him to do their biddings.
In his words, “For months the club has been abusing its power to bully me into signing a new contract. These tactics have included paying me late on numerous occasions. The breakdown in negotiations came when my mother fell ill and I asked Ruben for the wages the club already owed me in order to pay for my mother’s hospital bill and treatment. Ruben Garcia responded to my request by saying ‘Sign this new contract and we will pay you what’s owed tonight!”
Nwakali represented Nigeria at the tournament in Cameroon where he wore the jersey number 25.
However, Nwakali was diagnosed with Respiratory Tract Infection before the Round of 16 match that Nigeria eventually lost to Tunisia, on the doctor’s orders, he could not immediately return to the club.
He further explained that on the last day of the transfer market (January 31, 2022) when he was to join his teammates at Huesca, Mr Garcia informed him that he had to leave the club after a late offer came in from another La Liga 2 club.
“He threatened that he would not pay me if I did not leave the club. The option that was given to me was leave or we will open up disciplinary action. Before January 31st, I was never told by the club that they wanted to let me leave in January and this was not a decision that I felt was right for me at the time,” the midfielder asserted.
The Nigerian International explained that on February 1, Mr Garcia and the club’s lawyers opened disciplinary proceedings that led to his suspension from the club.
Nwakali noted that following an intervention from the Spanish Footballers Union (The AFE), he was allowed back into the training but was still barred from using the facilities or even receiving treatment from the club physiotherapists.
Nwakali said, “Throughout this time, Huesca have not paid my wages, yet I have remained silent hoping that a reasonable resolution could be found.”
However, on Monday (April 5), things soon turned sour when he turned up for training and “a member of the club tried to force me to sign mutual termination papers which I refused to do,” he said.
The Nigerian International, however, says he does not regret his decision to play for the Super Eagles.
Business Post will continue to follow this story as it develops.
The Rise of Sports Betting in Nigeria
Sports betting is the activity of predicting sports results and placing a wager on the outcome. The frequency of sports to bet upon varies by culture, with the vast majority of bets being placed on football. Betting has been a part of Nigerian culture for many years.
At first, it was heavily stigmatized, but the development of technology and openness of borders made gambling one of the most popular ways of spending time and money.
Sports Betting is experiencing a massive flow in Nigeria, with an estimated 60 million Nigerians actively involved in the sports betting game. Over 50 betting sites are currently operating in Nigeria. All this is having a huge impact on the economy. Nigeria has become the second largest online betting market in Africa, behind South Africa, with a Gross Gaming Revenue of $58 million in 2018, according to a report by top accounting and auditing firm, PwC. The report projects that the GGR will rise by 16% over a five-year period. Nigeria has over 200 million people, supplying the population to feed the betting market.
However, sports betting often becomes a way to engage people with the same vision and goals. They visit offline and online betting sites, communicate, share experiences, and make friends. With time, they organize sports clubs, team up for games, and do family activities. This builds stronger relationships inside the society and prevents Nigerians from bad habits like alcohol and drugs.
This pastime is very beneficial for the government, as sports betting venues pay significant taxes. This money is used to support those who live below the poverty line, build infrastructure, and even educate children. Another less obvious advantage of sports betting is that it boosts technological growth and improvements. Many developers and companies want to create their own products which bring the local labour market into action.
Sports betting in Nigeria is not growing alone, but rather moving along with other industries like the banking, information technology and telecommunications industries. The inter-relationship between these sectors can best be described as symbiotic, with each benefiting from the other.
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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.
Why Manchester United’s Win Over Arsenal is a Promising Sign
Manchester United started their 2022/23 Premier League campaign on a low note with two embarrassing losses to Brighton and Brentford. This was not the start that Man U fans wanted with new manager Erik ten Hag.
Despite the setbacks from those losses, Man United managed to bounce back with an affirming win against Liverpool and this recent impressive result against Arsenal. Man United is back and ready to perform at the highest level.
Let’s take a look at why Man United has a promising future ahead of them and why the win over Arsenal was the prime example of their strong potential. These are the reasons why ManU best odds are seen again at online sportsbooks.
Marcus Rashford has found his form as a goal-scorer again
When Rashford made his debut back in the 2015/16 season, he was known as a goal-scoring winger. As he has progressed, Rashford has evolved into a more well-rounded player. However, he became one of the best goal-scorers in the United squad now. He has been often deployed as the number 9 or striker for the Reds.
Through the first six games of the season, Rashford has scored three goals and dished out two assists. This is a far cry from his form over the past few years which he looked a step slower than his first few years as a pro. Now, ten Hag has found a calling for Rashford as a goal-scorer and he has delivered on his promise of revitalising the United stars.
The new signings are working out well
While the likes of Rashford and Sancho are playing well to start the season, the new signings have been excellent so far. Lisandro Martinez has been excellent in the centre-back role, especially when paired with Raphaël Varane. Even if he is a smaller player, his energy has paid off for ten Hag and United because he has locked down enemy forwards.
Another signing that has fit in seamlessly with United is Christian Eriksen. The former Tottenham Hotspur mainstay has been excellent for United as he can play in any midfield role. He has been excellent as a playmaker for the team and his energy has been awesome, especially when you consider the issues he faced with his heart back in 2021.
Lastly, Antony has only played one game for United during the match against Arsenal but he has already shown brilliant flashes. In his first game for the Reds, he scored a goal to help his club get over the previously-undefeated Arsenal.
Erik ten Hag’s system is the right fit for Man United
In his short time with the United squad, ten Hag has proven that he is the right choice for the club. Former Netherlands manager Foppe de Haan has talked about how ten Hag has cemented he’s a footballing mastermind.
Foppe said, ‘When he (ten Hag) starts talking about football, you immediately know, wait a minute, this guy knows what he wants. He really has an idea and makes it trainable. He makes demands, is very clear about them and seems completely reliable in the things he wants and does… Ten Hag has also noticed where football is heading. The game in small spaces and extremely physical’.
Foppe perfectly summarised what works for United because he has played with a physical system so far, with Martinez as the focal point. This is important to know because ten Hag has enacted positive change at United and he has proven that he is the right fit for the club.
Casemiro will bolster this squad even more
Through the years, Man United has always needed a strong defensive midfielder. While Scott McTominay and Fred have done their best to play in those roles, it has not worked out for them because they do not possess the necessary assets required to serve as a dominant defensive midfielder. McTominay is a tad too slow while Fred is smaller which hampers their effectiveness even if they are skilled.
Casemiro fills in that role perfectly and while they haven’t played with him yet, United is primed to have a strong midfield with the Brazilian paired with Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes. That is a good sign moving forward for the overall United squad.
Man United will be a tough team moving forward
With ten Hag in the manager’s seat, Man United is looking good. Their win against Arsenal proved that they belong in the upper echelon of the Premier League and they will continue to improve with time. They will be favourites moving forward and that will be reflected in ManU best odds that you can see everywhere.
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