The Top Young Talent In Nigerian Women's Football
In the modern game, youth is often more valuable, which is why several players who have enjoyed relatively few birthdays are commanding recording breaking exploits.
Here's s list of the top 25 young talents in the women's game, taking into account all players aged 19 and under.
25. Ugochi Emenayo (Nasarawa Amazons)
A versatile lad who can also play in any area of the defence, Ugochi has done well in the U17 team and is understood to be a player Peter Dedevbo might include in his World Cup squad. Could well progress from Nigeria's Under-20s to the full
24. Chinwendu Ihezuo (Pelican Stars)
The future Super Falcons legend has not looked at all out of place in the star-studded senior side, looking comfortable and useful to the team. The youngster has had a great start to her career, and will play a huge role at the 2014 FIFA U20 World Cup if she makes the cut.
23. Gladys Abasi (Ibom Angels)
Gladys comes to one's mind in terms of technical ability and initiation of attacks from the back. A delight to watch like the legendary Florence Omagbemi.
22. Idike Jiroro (Delta Queens)
A decent defender by all standards, doesn't joke with her territory. She has shown glimpses of her great talent, and should establish herself as a world star in the next few years.
21. Mary Ologbosere (Ibom Angels)
Still raw and in need of experience, the right-back possesses great natural ability and was a key player at the 2014 U17 World Cup in Costa Rica. She is regarded as one of the best Nigerian talents at the moment. Definitely one to watch though.
20. Aishat Bello (Confluence Queens)
When Confluence Queens' fans chanted "She's just too good for you! She's just too good for you!" at the opposition whenever a teenage Aishat Bello dazzled on the ball, it was clear she had great things ahead of her.
A member of Adamu Suleiman's Confluence Queens side, Aishat's talents first piqued broad curiosity with the Queens' 1-3 loss to Almighty Rivers Angels in a friendly match.
Such is the demand for her talent that clubs are ready to take her away from the grips of the Lokoja based side.
19. Tessy Biahwo (Delta Queens)
Despite not having playing time at the 2014 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica, Tessy Biahwo is highly rated by followers of the game.
Her deadly passes and reading of the game is superb.
18. Amarachi Orjinma (Pelican Stars)
The same Pelican Stars that gave us Uchenna Kanu has another defenders' fear, Amarachi Ojinma, the top scorer of the Nigeria Women Premier League.
The technically-gifted forward has gained plenty of admirers in high places.
17. Uchenna Kanu (Pelican Stars)
One should always be wary when a new and exciting player is dubbed as the "new" iteration of a superstar, but Pelican Stars' Uchenna Kanu has the ability to support her growing reputation as the new "Mia Hamm."
Clubs will jostle for Uche's signature, thanks to her dribbling, use of the head,
techniques and pace on both wings.
16. Joy Bokiri (Bayelsa Queens)
The gifted Joy Bokiri had the world at her feet in Costa Rica 2014. Sharp, menacing, fast and above all a dedicated worker on the pitch.
A free kick specialist, playmaker and motivated midfielder.
15. Chi-chi Oluchi (Ibom Angels)
Chi-chi Oluchi, a goalkeeper, almost accounted for the elimination of top guns Rivers Angels at the 2013 NFF Fed Cup. Her team eventually bowed out 11-10 to the Port Harcourt Angels.
She has a bright future ahead of her.
14. Dabrinze Blessing (Bayelsa Queens)
One thing that is in Blessing's favour is her relatively young age. Always willing to learn and a player, who is a star in the making.
13. Habeebat Akinwande (FC Robo)
The perfect sweeper for any serious side. A very rugged and uncompromising centre-back, who is capable of being one of the best in the land if well managed.
She shows expert tactical awareness and complete ease in her playing role. A born leader, in some cases she is usually deployed as a right-back, centre-back and even a wing-back in Robo's all-attack formation.
12. Tina Long John (Taraba Queens)
Moruf Adeyemo unleashed overwhelming amount of talent last season. One of such talent is Tina Long John, who was a mainstay in Taraba Queens' starting XI.
11. Ovoma Ovie (Osun Babes)
The Delta born is another Theo Walcott of the Women's game. She is more distinct than the Arsenal star due to her mobility and flair.
10. Halimatu Ayinde (Delta Queens)
With Ngozi Okobi, Maureen Eke on the books, Delta Queens aren't exactly short on midfield options.
One of their most promising talents in that area of the park, however, is Halimatu Ayinde.
She has shown her incredible talents in the right-wing position. Splendid!
9. Rashidat Ajibade (FC Robo)
At the beginning of the 2012/13 season, things looked rather bleak for FC Robo, but thanks to the rise of Rashidat Ajibade, they were able to maintain third spot in the League.
The player who likes to have the ball at her feet earned comparisons with the legendary Maureen Mmadu for her dribbling and tricky skills at the 2014 FIFA U17 World Cup.
8. Yetunde Adeboyejo (Bayelsa Queens)
The Bull of the Nigeria Women Premier League. She doesn't relent whenever she is not with the ball. A player to watch in Canada 2014 U20 World Cup.
7. Chioma Wogu (Confluence Queens)
Chioma Wogu has been a bargain for Adamu Suleiman's team with no trouble adapting to a different style of play.
Known as Spirit, the player is a menace and phobia to defenders on the domestic scene. No wonder she is always subjected to rough tackles by opposing defenders.
6. Onyinye Okeke (Edo Queens)
Onyinye was in goal for Nigeria at the 2014 U17 World Cup in Costa Rica. Her height is a plus to her, certainly she is a future Ann Chijiene.
5. Maryam Ibrahim (Nasarawa Amazons)
The most exciting young centre-back in Nigerian female football has to be Nasarawa Amazons' skipper Maryam Ibrahim.
The imposing defender put in faultless displays in Amazons surprising title win against highly rated Rivers Angels.
4. Winifred Eyebhoria (Pelican Stars)
There are doubts as to whether Nigeria have good enough form to win the U20 World Cup, but when considering their current crop of youngsters, it's hard to imagine anything but success.
One prodigious talent is Winifred Eyebhoria, who was deemed worthy of a place in this list with some eye catching show for the Calabar side. Her performances are getting better and better, and she is going a long way to justifying the confidence in her.
3. Edeji Chidinma (Bayelsa Queens)
"Out-of-this-world Edeji too good for Sierra Leone read the headline in Nigerian blog futbalgalore.blogspot.com following Falconets 10-0 victory against the sorry visitors.
The fast winger is wanted by a host of major Nigerian clubs thanks to her speed, agility and keen eye for goal.
2. Esther Ndubuisi (FC Robo, Nigeria)
The casual observer will note that FC Robo were a pretty good team last season. They have been unstoppable once again this season in the Pro League.
The teenager is regarded as one of the best upcoming midfielders in Nigeria, with a creative mind, two strong feet and the ability to turn
a game around.
"She runs through opponents as though they aren't there. She has the same assets as Esther Sunday in terms of her technique and understanding of the game," said FC Robo owner Emmanuel Osahan, lauding deserved praise of the youngster.
1. Asisat Lamina Oshoala (Rivers Angels)
Oh come on, you didn't think you could read a list like this without the name Asisat Lamina Oshoala cropping up?
Even technocrats of the game are aware of the player's immense arsenal of talent.
The biggest test of her career will come in August 2014, when the world watches to see if her abilities will translate to the game in a second U20 world cup.
The entire nation of Nigeria is counting on the fleet footed player to deliver the first U20 women World Cup judging by her impressive outing in Super Falcons qualification for Namibia 2014, she shouldn't disappoint.