Tuesday Jan 13, 2015. 12:51
Three strikers who shone in the Nigeria premier league last season joined top clubs in the Maghreb this month.
Emem Eduok after a transfer controversy joined Esperance of Tunisia, Ighodalo Osaguona sealed a four and half year deal with Raja Casablanca (Morocco) and Peter Ebimobowei joined Al Ahly(Egypt).
The leagues in these countries are better organised and pay players better than what obtains in Nigeria, and this may well explain why these Nigerian talents cannot resist the lure.
Having fulfilled their dreams of playing outside Nigeria, do they have what it takes to excel in those countries with mounting expectations from fans, the media and even the clubs?
AfricanFootball.com x-rayed their chances to excel as they face a new challenge in their career.
The big striker proved to be a prolific goal scorer at Enugu Rangers last season after he struggled for goals at 3SC the previous campaign.
He netted 16 goals in the Nigeria top flight league and has been capped at full international level by Nigeria.
Osaguona is a direct striker with power and aerial prowess. He has good techniques for a big man and will therefore be expected to do well in Morocco.
The tempo of the game is higher in Morocco and he will face tougher defenders, who have more experience than those he faced in Nigeria as most of their players are better exposed.
Osaguona's showing for the Super Eagles has underlined the fact he has what it takes to also shine in Morocco especially if the club play to his strengths.
After the controversies, he has inked a deal with Tunisian giants Esperance. Emem equaled Jude Aneke's 20-goal record in a season in the colours of Dolphins.
The left-footed Emem is an all-round forward who could play from the wings or as top striker.
He is strong, quick, has good positioning and he is one of the most dangerous strikers in Nigeria league around the box.
The former Flying Eagles star, who was the first player to score six goals in a league game in history of Nigeria in Dolphins 6-1 win over Nembe City, will be the hottest bet of the other Nigeria strikers off to the Maghreb to shine as Esperance has proved to be a favourite hunting ground for the lies of other Nigeria stars like Garba Lawal, Michael Eneramo and Julius Aghahowa.
He has been a consistent goal scorer in the Nigeria league, but joining the best club in African football history Al Ahly of Egypt will come with added pressure.
How well and quickly he copes with this pressure will define his time at the Cairo Red Devils.
Al Ahly are a massive club and the Bayelsa United star must adapt quickly as there won't be much time for him to do that going by the high demands from the club’s fans.
He has joined a team who are undergoing a major transition following the exit of some of their ageing top stars like Wael Goma and Mohamed Aboutrika.
He is a powerful striker with good techniques, who has proved clinical in front of goal.
He scored 18 goals last season to help Bayelsa United escape relegation.
By Olusola Alao