Some of the brightest African young talents in Nigeria football are set to take centre stage over the course of the next five months in the Nigeria Premier Football League 2023 season.
Here’s a look at one of the top young players to keep your eyes on during the league season:
Naibe Akpesiri (Rivers United): Forward
The role played by Rivers United new striker signing, Naibe Akpesiri can best be described as an attacking all-rounder, a versatile player who has the ability to play in a variety of offensive roles.
Coming through the youth system, Akpesiri was seen primarily as an attacking midfielder, but was eventually moved up front as a result of his imposing figure and goalscoring prowess.
Rivers United usually plays a 4–3–3 formation, and Akpesiri is most likely to lead the attacking trio this season. He can operate in any of the attacking midfield roles but played in the centre during his short term spell at Akwa United last season.
He can also play on the right wing and has been used in a central attacking role as an out-and-out forward or even as a second striker since arriving in the Nigeria topflight division from tier two side, Ekiti United.
Naibe Akpesiri has been particularly lauded for his composure; his manager at Akwa United Deji Ayeni describes him as a player who is impervious to pressure and his current manager at Rivers United Stanley Eguma has described the towering forward as one who boast of having tremendous mental strength.
A clinical player, goal scorer and creator of goals, Akpesiri has been praised in the media for his intelligent movement off the ball and his ability to time his attacking runs; he has described himself as a player who can find gaps in the opposition area and particularly good at dribbling and in one-on-ones.
To add further to his offensive capabilities, Akpesiri has also come under praises by pundits for his stamina, teamwork, goalscoring and defensive work-rate.