Nigeria’s first appearance at the CHAN tournament was in 2014 when they lost to Ghana in the semi-finals before eventually taking third place in the Tournament.
The 2016 African Nations Championship saw elimination in the group stage, while the 2018 edition brought a silver medal. The Nigerian flag won’t be hoisted in Cameroon after failure at the hands of Togo, robbing Nigerians off an opportunity to see her domestic lights shine pellucidly like a million stars.
However, where are those who have lit up the tournament previously?
Christantus Ejike Uzoenyi
32year old Uzoenyi was the first Nigerian to cart away the Best Player of the Tournament Award, firing the CHAN Eagles to third place. Then of Enugu Rangers International, His three goals and virtuoso performances earned him a move to South Africa with Mamelodi Sundowns and a place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad in Brazil.
He won the PSL with Bidvest Wits in 2017, before a spell at Ajax Cape Town. He currently plies his trade at Bosnian side, Zvijezda 09.
Solomon Sesugh Kwambe
The 26-year old initially caught the eye of Stephen Keshi and was selected for Nigeria’s squad at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. It was however at the 2014 CHAN, the then Sunshine full-back would shine like a million stars, distinguishing himself.
He headed to Lobi Stars before heading to the United States to join the Championship side, FC Tulsa.
‘Pele’ will clock 40 later this year, however, the Kano Pillars captain remains evergreen. He has featured in two CHAN tournaments, finding the net on both occasions, including a match-winning brace against Mozambique in Cape Town.
A legend of the local league, Ali has indeed stamped his authority on the local scene and the Nigeria B team.
Chikatara holds the record for most goals scored by a Nigerian in a single CHAN tournament with four, one that sits alongside his hattrick record. The then Abia Warriors wing wizard tormented defences with his burst of pace, leaving a lasting impression and winning the hearts of fans.
The 25-year old currently turns out for Al-Faisaly in Jordan.
Now of FC Tobol in Kazakhstan, 26-year old Eze was named in the 2018 CHAN team of the tournament, where he commanded Nigeria’s defense alongside Ikouwem Udo Utin.
He made five appearances and helped earn three clean sheets.
Ojo Ekundayo Solomon
Enyimba maestro, Dayo Ojo alongside Rabiu Ali, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, and Austin Oladapo supplied the ammunitions ably for the forwards. Then of Sunshine Stars, Ojo was included in the Team of the tournament for his commanding displays as Nigeria marches to the final.
Sunday Adeyemi Faleye
21-year-old Faleye exploded like a phenom on the scene in 2018. Then of Shooting Stars, Faleye torpedoed through defences and was nigh on untouchable atimes. An injury would cut his tournament short but he had left his mark on the tournament.
He currently plays in Austria for FC Wacker Innsbruck.
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