<
>

Nigeria Player Power Rankings: August

Odion Ighalo and Victor Moses Kabiru Abubakar/fotodezamora

With the football season starting starting across most of Europe's major leagues during the month of August, and more than a few European competitions, there were more than enough games for a sample size.

Away from Europe, there were games aplenty in China, where Odion Ighalo is on fire and seized the opportunity to claim our KweséESPN Player of the Month Award.

Below is a list of the Top 10 performing Nigerian players:

1. ODION IGHALO (CHANGCHUN YATAI)

His World Cup may have been far from what he expected, but Ighalo has not let that slow him down.

The forward shook off the disappointment of Russia to hit seven goals in six post-World Cup appearances for Changchun Yatai, including two braces to establish himself as Nigeria's top-scoring striker. He even added an assist for good measure.

Hopefully, he would have saved some for Seychelles.

On the basis of his hot goalscoring streak, Ighalo wins our Player of the Month award.

2. HENRY ONYEKURU (GALATSARAY)

If Ighalo had a disappointing World Cup, Onyekuru's big let-down was that he did not even get the chance to go after an injury ruled him out before he could even contend for a place.

But the forward, like Ighalo, has shrugged off his setback to blend in seamlessly at Galatasaray, where he is on loan from Everton.

Two goals in three league appearances in August, plus electrifying all-round performances, win the 21-year-old second place.

3. IYAYI ATIEMWEN (HNK GORICA)

Ati-who? Reasonable enough question to ask.

But three goals in three consecutive games from six starts for Croatia's HNK Gorica has a way of answering any such questions emphatically.

Early days yet, but with form like this, he may not be unknown for too long.

4. PHILIP AZANGO (AS TRENCIN)

This former Plateau United forward has started the season by zipping off the blocks, scoring twice in the Europa League, including one in a 4-0 whitewash of Dutch giants Feyernoord.

AS Trencin have played eight games this August, and Azango, 21, has been involved in every one of them.

5. DENNIS BONAVENTURE (CLUB BRUGGE)

It should be only a matter of a very short time until this young man gets the recognition his form has been crying for.

And in August he added to that claim with two goals from five appearances for Belgian giants Club Brugge. One of those goals was in a 2-1 win against Anderlecht.

6. WILFRED NDIDI (LEICESTER CITY)

Ndidi has simply carried on from where he left off last season, starting every game for Leicester in the new Premier League season and proving a difficult wall to get past for opposition players.

7. TAIWO AWONIYI (GENT)

Now here is a familiar name.

Gent's Taiwo Awoniyi may have scored just one goal so far, but he has been involved in all of the club's seven games so far this season, tallying nearly 600 minutes in league and Europa League action, where that goal came from.

8. SEMI AJAYI (ROTHERHAM UNITED)

It is not hard to see why Gernot Rohr handed Ajayi a call-up to the Nigeria squad. The 24-year-old has been a regular starter for Rotherham and showed that he has goals in him too when he scored against Wigan in the League Cup.

9. EBERE EZE (QPR)

It is something of a head-scratcher that Ebere did not make the Nigeria squad along with fellow Championship defender Semi Ajayi.

The defender has not missed a single one of QPR's seven games this season, and to put the icing on a consistent cake, scored their only goal in a 2-1 loss to Sheffield United.

10. WILLIAM TROOST EKONG(UDINESE) / EFE AMBROSE (HIBERNIAN)

This was a difficult one to call and in the end, a tie seemed the fair result.

Ambrose has played more games with Hibernian, including every minute of both their domestic league and Europa League exertions, scoring twice in Europe.

Troost-Ekong may have played way more matches, but he opened the season with a league goal in Turkey, then moved to Udinese and slotted in seamlessly into a Serie A side. No easy feat.