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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:02 am 
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There's a long-standing tradition of Nigerian players in Belgium's Jupiler League, with Stephen Keshi, Celestine Babayaro and Peter Odemwingie just some of the Super Eagles to have played in the top flight.

The division has long been a fertile training ground for future Nigeria stars, and this series promises to be no different, with a series of the nation's young talents set to compete.


Ahead of Friday's big kickoff, KweséESPN profile five Nigerians to watch out for in the Jupiler League this season.

Bonaventure Dennis (Club Brugge): The forward joined champions Club Brugge on a four-year deal from Zorya Luhansk at the start of last season and hit the ground running.

He mesmerised defenders with his brilliant footwork and two-footed approach, while his impressive goals-to-games ratio at the start of the season set him apart as one to watch.

The goals may have dried up later in the campaign, but the 20-year-old still ended the year with the league title and will relish the prospect of playing in the Champions League.

Taiwo Awoniyi (Gent) completed a season-long loan switch from Liverpool to Gent on Monday as he returns to Belgian football after netting 10 for Royal Excel Mouscron last term.

This wasn't enough for him to be given the opportunity with Jurgen Klopp's side, although he did sign a contract extension with the Reds.

The gangling striker will be in good company at Gent, with three other Nigerian teammates on the club's books, including international midfielder Anderson Esiti.

The wonderkid striker, a key member of Nigeria's U-17 World Cup-winning team of 2013, should also make his Europa League bow this term.

Uche Agbo should continue his stellar displays in the Belgian top flight after he extended his loan agreement to Standard Liege from Watford for a second season.

Last term, the hard-working versatile defensive midfielder made 35 appearances and scored one goal as Standard finished second.

A big season in Belgium could result in either a recall to his parent club if he qualifies for a work permit or a permanent transfer to a potential suitor.


Moses Simon of Nigeria Kabiru Abubakar/fotodezamora
Moses Simon (Gent): Highly rated Nigeria international Simon will look to bounce back from the disappointment of his injury-enforced World Cup absence with a brilliant campaign with Gent.

The 23-year-old wideman is entering his fifth season in Belgium, despite being linked to a £10-million switch to Liverpool at the start of June.


Simon, who is noted for his explosive pace, high work rate and direct approach has the quality to make a massive impact for the 2015 league champions as he enters the final year of his contract.

Samuel Kalu (Gent): The second forward of a potential three-man Nigerian attack at Gent this season could be one of the success stories of the campaign.

20-year-old Kalu has turned heads with his blistering pace and impressive skills since his switch from Slovak side AS Trencin in January 2017.

Last season, the winger contributed seven goals from 32 appearances, and was befittingly named amongst the 50 biggest talents in Europe by the CIES Football Observatory.

If Kalu continues his rapid progression this season, he could break into Gernot Rohr's squad for the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Surely, a move to one of Europe's major leagues could follow soon afterwards.

http://kwese.espn.com/football/nigeria/story/3576309/taiwo-awoniyi-and-nigerians-to-watch-in-the-jupiler-league


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