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Part C: Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 season players to watch (photos)
Part C: Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 season players to watch (photos)

With the Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 season full of excitement and anticipation, is set to kickoff, it might be difficult for us to know where we should focus our attention on.

Read: Part A – Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 season Players to watch

League champions Akwa United will be looking to retain their place at the top of the pile while Kano Pillars and others look to narrow the gap in a competitive season. Just like many other years in the NPFL, lots of promising talents always emerge and hope to prove their worth for a whole host of reasons.

Read: Part B – Nigeria Professional Football League 2021/22 season Players to watch


Battling for CAF Champions League, Confederations Cup and staying in the Nigeria top flight league, shows that there are lots of incentives for all teams – not forgetting the highly anticipated return of fans back to stadiums which will add more fuel to the fire.


1. Morice Chukwu – Rivers United – Midfielder


Morice is a highly-rated creative and technically gifted midfielder, who also possesses excellent dribbling skills and ball control, that allows him to flourish effectively in a deep-seated playmaking role when utilized as a central midfielder.


He is also capable of operating in a more advanced role as an attacking midfielder and was outstanding all through 2020/2021 campaign since making a move from Akwa United to Rivers United.


Morice is noted for his ball distribution accuracy, as he possesses great passing vision and technique, and maintained about 85.7% pass success rate throughout the 2020–21 NPFL season.


He will be one of the amazing stars to focus the league kick-starts on December 17.

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2. Nweke Kalu – Abia Warriors – Midfielder


Considered as one of the brightest prospects in the Nigeria Professional Football League last season, Abia United’s Nweke Kalu is a classic number 10, who usually plays in a creative role as an attacking midfielder behind the strikers, and is also capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker, as a second striker, or as a winger.


Also being a quick, intelligent, talented, gifted and elegant player, the ex Kwara United man was outstanding last term for the Harmony Boys due to his fine technique, dribbling skills, close control, movement, great vision, and precise passing, which made him an excellent assist provider, and enabled him to create space for his teammates, or orchestrate his teams’ attacking moves.


The Abia Warriors new signing is mainly known to be an unselfish team player, he also possesses an eye for goal from midfield, and was an accurate striker of the ball with both feet, in particular from outside the area last season.


He ended his short stint at Kwara United with three goals and six assists, a total of nine contribution on goal in 17 games, some of which he came on as a substitute.


3 . Ojo Olorunleke – Enyimba Football Club – Goalkeeper


Rated by pundits as one of the best shotstopper the country’s league has produced in many years, Enyimba Football Club summer signing, Ojo Olorunleke is a well-rounded, commanding, and courageous goalkeeper, who is special for his athleticism, strength, quick reflexes, as well as his agility, positional sense, shot-stopping, ability to read the game, and speed when rushing off his line; he also stands out for his ability to collect aerial balls and command his box effectively.


Nevertheless, he is mostly highly regarded for his outstanding distribution and skill with the ball at his feet: Ojo’s confidence and control on the ball enables him to keep possession and quickly play the ball out from the back on the ground with his hands or either foot – even when he’s under pressure – or launch a long range attack with long kicks. Although naturally left-footed, Ojo is capable of using either foot.


He has since shown glimpses of what is expected of him at Enyimba with three clean sheets in his last three CAF Confederations Cup games.


4. Yusuf Mohamed – Katsina United – Goalkeeper


Following his emergence as a precocious talent in his youth, Yusuf Mohamed has been considered to be one of the best, most consistent, and most respected goalkeepers of this generation.


A tall, athletic, agile, brave, physically strong, and well-rounded keeper, with a strong mentality, as well as good decision-making and leadership qualities; Yusuf Mohamed has stood out for his breath-taking reflexes and shot-stopping abilities, as well as his positional sense, concentration, defence organisation, handling when coming off his line to claim crosses, and command of his area.


He possesses a deep kick with either foot, despite being naturally right-footed. His ability to produce deep kicks and long throws were evidenced last season and he used them to carryout quick counter-attacks which were an important part of their Katsina United games.


Yusuf, being a modern day goalie often functions as a sweeper keeper, due to his ability to rush off his line, anticipate opponents who had beaten the offside trap, and clear the ball away from danger.


He has fully recovered from a knee problem he sustained during Katsina United’s 2-0 win over Enyimba Football Club last season and will be in line to return to action when the season begins.


5 . Monday Akile Lobi Stars – Midfielder


Akile, a talented and agile left-footed player, is known for having good dribbling skills,an excellent first touch, and outstanding technical ability, which, along with his intelligent attacking movements, gives him room to retain possession in tight spaces, and to create space for himself and teammates to open up a defence.


Although Akile is primarily utilized as a deep lying playmaker for his team, he is capable of scoring goals himself as well as setting them up, which enables him to be deployed in several offensive positions: he was mostly fielded in a free role as an attacking midfielder last season, where he was given space and freedom to roam the pitch.


He is also deployed to fill in as a second striker, as a false 9, as a winger or as a deeper-lying central midfielder. He ended last season on a high after scoring three times and setting up eight, a total of eleven goal involvement in sixteen matches.

As exciting and interesting as this is, we must take pause here and continue later tomorrow, stay tuned for Part D of NPFL 2021/2022 season players to watch according to Lodgexpress.

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