Take a look across Europe and you’ll find Nigerian superstars aplenty. According to the stats, there are Nigerian footballers in more than 290 countries. In fact, of all the African nations, Nigeria adds the most talent to the likes of Spain, Portugal, and England.
The Nigerian national team might only be ranked 32nd in the world, but there are plenty of homegrown hotshots making their mark in the game’s toughest leagues.
For example, the likes Ramon Azeez, Tyronne Ebuehi, and Odion Ighalo are all doing their thing in Europe. Then, of course, who can ignore the exploits of Asisat Oshoala. The female striking sensation bagged 29 goals in 30 games for Barcelona Femení in 2020. By these measures and more, the nation’s finest are proving there’s plenty of talent outside of Europe. However, when 2021 rolls around, our stars will have to take a back seat.
A Summer of Entertainment in Europe
With Euro 2020 postponed until the summer of 2021, Ighalo et al will have to watch from the sidelines as England, Spain, Belgium, and the rest of Europe’s best battle for glory. Heading into the competition, England and France are leading the way in the UEFA Euro 2020 odds race. At 9/2, the two nations are looking strong after topping their groups. However, with Belgium at 5/1, Germany at 7/1, and Spain at 15/2, the tournament will be as tight as ever.
Of course, for Nigeria’s football fans, there won’t be any direct interest in the tournament. However, it’s a sporting spectacle, nonetheless. Indeed, with the Africa Cup of Nations now taking place in 2022 instead of 2021, Euro 2020 will provide a healthy dose of entertainment next year. The question, therefore, is who will you root for? With so many Nigerians over in Europe, you may have club/country allegiances. In England, you’ve got Ighalo, Ola Aina, Alex Iwobi, Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi, and many more playing in the Premier League.
Plenty of Reasons for Nigerians to Watch Euro
For fans of teams like Manchester United, Fulham, Everton, and Leicester City, that’s reason enough to cheer for England. If you’re a fan of Villarreal, Cádiz, or Huesca because of Samuel Chukwueze, Saturday Erimuya, and Kelechi Nwakali, then Spain might be your pick. Then, of course, there’s Portugal. Based on numbers alone, Portugal might be the most supported European team among Nigerian football fans. Why? Because of all the countries Nigerian players flock to, Portugal is the most popular.
There are currently more than 60 Nigerians playing in Portugal, including Abbas Ibrahim and Ahmed Isaiah. With so many recognizable faces in the Primeira Liga et al, there should be plenty of support for the tournament’s 14/1 outsiders. Wherever your allegiances lie; whether it’s Portugal, England, or another country, there are plenty of reasons to watch Euro 2020. Even if you’re not going to support a particular team, there will be plenty of world-class football to enjoy when the first whistle blows on June 11, 2021.
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