BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 26: Pepe of Portugal and Fatawu Dauda of Ghana hug after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal and Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
BRASILIA, BRAZIL – JUNE 26: Pepe of Portugal and Fatau Dauda of Ghana hug after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal and Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

With competition to get signed by foreign clubs stiff, and rather than joining obscure leagues in overseas, some African players – especially the Nigerian ones – prefer to come to the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Concise News takes a look at the five players presently plying their trade in the NPFL who have either played at the Senior FIFA World Cup or named by their country to the biggest football party on earth.

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Juwon Oshaniwa (Akwa United)

Oshaniwa is currently on the books of Akwa United having signed for The Promise Keepers ahead of the ongoing 2019 NPFL season.

The 28-year-old Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) winner played in all four of Nigeria’s matches at the World Cup in 2014 as Nigeria fell to France in the Round of 16.

Super Eagles Juwon Oshaniwa (R) fights for the ball with Mathieu Valbuena of France. (Image Courtesy: Daily Trust)
Super Eagles Juwon Oshaniwa (R) fights for the ball with Mathieu Valbuena of France at Brazil 2014. (Image Courtesy: Daily Trust)

Kunle Odunlami (Rivers United)

Odunlami, now with Rivers United was part of Nigeria’s team to the 2014 World Cup, although he did not feature at all in any of the four matches Late Stephen Keshi’s men played in Brazil.

Kunle Odunlami in Nigeria's colours. (Image Credit: FootballTop.com)
Kunle Odunlami in Nigeria’s colours. (Image Credit: FootballTop.com)

Michael Uchebo (Rangers International of Enugu)

Rangers International of Enugu’s striker, Michael Uchebo was a member of the Super Eagles team to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Uchebo featured in the Eagles’ last group game (against Argentina) – his sole appearance at the World Cup.

Argentina's Ricardo Alvarez, left, is tackled by Nigeria's Michael Uchebo during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina at Brazil 2014. (Image Credit: Ahram Online)
Argentina’s Ricardo Alvarez, left, is tackled by Nigeria’s Michael Uchebo during the group F World Cup soccer match between Nigeria and Argentina at Brazil 2014. (Image Credit: Ahram Online)

Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United)

One of the highest-paid players in the NPFL, Katsina United shot-stopper, Ezenwa was named in Nigeria’s final 23-man final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Following the illness of Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, Ezenwa competed for place with the current preferred choice of Head Coach Gernot Rohr, Francis Uzoho. However, at the world cup, Ezenwa only had to settle for a place on the bench – cheering on his teammates.

Forward, Ahmed Musa, Nigeria's goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Nigeria's midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo celebrate at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup. (Image Courtesy: USAfrica)
Forward, Ahmed Musa, Nigeria’s goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Nigeria’s midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo celebrate at the end of Nigeria’s second game (against Iceland) at the Russia 2018 World Cup. (Image Courtesy: USAfrica)

Fatau Dauda (Enyimba)

Fatau Dauda saves from a Cristiano Ronaldo effort during Ghana's match versus Portugal at Brazil 2014 (Image Courtesy: Nairaland)
Fatau Dauda saves from a Cristiano Ronaldo effort during Ghana’s match versus Portugal at Brazil 2014 (Image Courtesy: Nairaland Forum)

Dauda was Ghana’s first choice glovesman at the 2014 World Cup. The former Orlando Pirates keeper has been with Enyimba Football Club of Aba since 2016. At a point, the 33-year old had to settle for rotation of duty with Theophilus Afelokhai and Ikechukwu Ezenwa. Dauda has praised the NPFL, describing it as highly tactical.