Azubuike Okechukwu, Frank Onyeka headline Nigerian successes in European football

What will rank as the most turbulent football season in recent memory has come to an end, after leagues across the world -- like other sporting competitions -- were forced to go on self-imposed breaks to combat the spread of COVID-19.

By the time the smoke had settled, some leagues had been cancelled, others had been ended prematurely, and a few resumed to conclude their campaigns.

At the end of it all, Nigerian players had made their mark -- some with cause for ecstasy, others wondering what had gone so badly wrong.

ESPN assess the principal Nigerian winners and losers from the season gone by.

Nigerians Celebrating

There were no Nigerian title winners in the Big Five major European leagues, but several annexed gongs elsewhere.

Coach Ndubuisi Egbo overcame discrimination to make history as the first African to coach a European team to a league title.

Who is to say he won't complete a double when his KF Tirana team take on Teuta in the Albanian Cup Final on Aug. 2

From history-making coach to history-making player.

Turkey is as close as it comes to the Big Five leagues, and Azubuike Okechukwu was there to help Istanbul Basaksehir make history as the outsider club emerged from the shadow of its giant cross-city rivals to claim its first Turkish Super Lig title. The Nigeria Olympic team captain has flown under the radar since the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, and perhaps this win could be what tickles Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr to look his way when international football returns.

Rabiu Ibrahim is another forgotten man of the Super Eagles, but perhaps for not much longer after he and Nigerian compatriot Ezekiel Henty helped Slovan Bratislava claim the Slovakian league title. He needs now to show more consistency if he is to at least knock on the for of the stacked Super Eagles midfield room.

That task will be made even harder by the emergence of Frank Onyeka, the rave of the Danish Superliga in his third season as he helped FC Midtjylland claim another title.

Onyeka, 22, not only finished the campaign as a title winner, but he was voted the club's Player of the Season. And deservedly so. Playing in central midfield, Onyeka dominated the central areas for the club, and his outstanding displays did not go unnoticed in the Danish media, which speculated that it would be a surprise if he remained at FC Midtjylland next season to help the team in UEFA Champions League qualifying efforts.

David Okereke and Emmanuel Dennis also celebrated a championship with Club Brugge in Belgium, while Karim Adeyemi won the Austrian Bundesliga with FC Salzburg, and Peter Olayinka claimed the Czech Republic league title with Slavia Prague.

League titles were not the only things being won.

Anthony Nwakaeme and Trabzonspor missed out on the Turkish league title, despite his flaming season of 11 goals from 29 appearances, but they got some consolation in the Ziraat Turkish Cup final. The club will not be be in European competition next season, however, after a two-season ban imposed by UEFA for violations of the Financial Fair Play rules. Perhaps, Rohr might want to reward the striker for such an accomplished season.

Alhassan Yusuf, with IFK Goteborg, and Otto John, with KF Ballkani, also celebrated cup final victories in Sweden and Kosovo respectively.

Winning is not just about titles.

Semi Ajayi and West Bromwich Albion secured promotion to the English Premier League on a heart-thumping final day of the season, while Simy Nwankwo's goals in Italy helped FC Crotone return to Serie A.

Huesca, in Spain, also returned to the La Liga, with Kelechi Nwakali in tow. The young midfielder has long been a prospect, and Nigeria and Rohr will hope that time in the Spanish top flight might see him finally blossom and fulfill his potential?

Nigerians Suffering Relegation Blues

It is hard to find bigger losers than Kenneth Omeruo and his defensive partner Chidozie Awaziem, who dropped out of La Liga in Spain.

Despite their best efforts, including taking their international partnership (well, somewhat) to club level, Leganes failed to secure the final-day win over champions Real Madrid that would have kept them in the Spanish top flight.

Awaziem can at least find consolation in the fact that he was only on loan and can return to his parent club in Portugal (not to mention a new-born baby).

For Omeruo, however, it is double jeopardy.

Injury absences have seen him replaced in the Super Eagles defence by Ajayi, who has been excellent.

It would have been hard enough for Omeruo to win his place back; suffering relegation while his rival moved up does not exactly help his cause, and he may need to secure a move away to a top-flight club to even up that battle.

Shehu Abdullahi is another Super Eagles player who needs to assess his future, after Bursaspor suffered relegation from the Turkish Super Lig. Plagued by injury most of the season, this current predicament, especially at a time when Rohr is calling up Kingsley Ehizibue from the German Bundesliga, does not bode well for Abdullahi.

And then there is Isaac Success, who appears to have been forgotten having barely kicked a ball for Watford all season. Perhaps with top players leaving the Hornets, he may get a chance to use the English League Championship to reestablish himself somewhat.

COVID-19 Postnote

Two Super Eagles players, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Kalu, tested positive for the coronavirus. Both players sat out their isolation period and recovered fully.