The Nigeria Premier Football League is the breeding ground to some of the very best African talents in the game.
A whole host of the players will be in action over the course of the next five months as the Nigeria topflight league season began last Sunday and we’ve picked out one of the players to watch out for.
Elijah Akanni (Enyimba Int’l): Midfielder
Elijah Akanni is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Enyimba International as a midfielder.
Described in the media as a “classic number ten”, Elijah Akanni’s favoured position is in a free role in the centre of the pitch as an attacking midfielder playing behind the forwards; however, he is a tactically versatile offensive player, who also has the ability of playing as a central midfielder or mezzala in a 4–3–3 setup (as was the case during his time with MFM FC), and as a right winger in a 4–2–3–1 system.
He has also been deployed on the left flank on occasion, or as a supporting striker.
Being one superb player who possesses significant passing range, vision, crossing accuracy, set-piece delivery, technical skills, movement, creativity and ability to understand the game, as well as good co-ordination and balance, Akanni is highly regarded by African pundits for his ability to initiate attacking moves for his team with his individual distribution, create or exploit spaces with his runs, and provide his teammates with assists; his range of gameplay brilliance make him an effective creator of chances and playmaker.
To add to his unique talent, the Enyimba man is also known for his intelligence and work-rate on the pitch.
Akanni is also known as one midfielder who has an eye for goal, and for his ability to hit the ball with accuracy and power with either foot, despite the fact that he is naturally right-footed, in particular from distance; moreover, he has also established himself as a free kick specialist.