It's such an interesting and perhaps, controversial study. But let me put it before you now. Who would you say is Nigeria's most Marketable footballer?
By that I mean a player who has such growing popularity and a positive relationship with fans. The player with such charisma that the people wish him well and responds positively to anything he is associated with.
We need to uncover who the player is or players are, because advertisers need them to help push their brands; Government needs them to help drive its policies or orientations to the people; Charity organizations need them to help bring succor and smiles to the faces of those in some kind of distress.
For us in the sport marketing profession, we need to find out who the players are so we can properly position them for this purpose. We did a survey that help us with that, and I would like to share the top 10 most marketable players we discovered.
Of course, you may not agree with our findings, your own opinion will be highly appreciated. In fact, it'll make this post richer with information. So I encourage you to post your comments below.
Nigerian players that feature regularly in the English Premiership (EPL) and Europe seems to be more popular than even players in the local league. I guess we all understand why? Nigerians follow EPL more than the local league, that's it.
Again, players current performance and attitude towards their club and most especially the national team, seems to be the three major factors that influenced most respondents selection. Let's look at the list below:
1. Kelechi Iheanacho
2. Victor Moses
3. Ahmed Musa
4. Odion Ighalo
5. Vincent Enyeama
6. Taiwo Awoniyi
7. Obafemi Martins
8. Mikel Obi
9. Carl Ikeme
10. Gbolahan Salami
1. Kelechi Iheanacho/ EPL/ Manchester City Fc
Kelechi Iheanacho is one player most fans expect to turn out an instant superstar. At 18 years old, he has already broken into the star studded Manchester city first team after he won the MVP and second highest goal scorer Awards at FIFA U16 world cup in UAE 2013.
Iheamacho is perhaps Nigeria's most marketable footballer due to his age, promise, exceptional skills and charisma. Iheanacho is expected to fill the shoes of Nwankwo Kanu, the Nigerian football legend.
Most Nigerian fans may have waved aside Iheanacho's poor performance that sidelined him on the bench after his first match at FIFA U20 World cup in New Zealand. They are confident that he will do well if Nigeria's Dream team qualifies for the Rio Olympic games in 2016.
2. Victor Moses/ EPL / West Ham Fc
Victor Moses is Nigerian player with the largest number of followers on the social media. He was a key player for Chelsea when the team won Europa cup in 2011, but has been on loan since Jose Mourinho took over at Stamford bridge.
His loan spell at Liverpool in 2014 wasn't exactly good and a loss of form due to injury. But he has regained his strides now in his second loan spell at West ham and he's already scoring spectacular goals.
Moses was selected as the second Nigeria's most marketable player because of his popularity, charisma, professionalism and skills. Moses was the playmaker for Nigeria's Super Eagles that won African Cup of Nations in 2013. He was also at the world cup in 2014. Moses may continue to play a key role in the new Super Eagles.
3. Ahmed Musa/ RussianLeague/ CSKA Moscow
Ahmed Musa is arguably the best Nigerian footballer as I write today.. Ranked among the top 20 fastest footballers in the world. Musa is perhaps one of the few Nigerians playing regular football for a top flight team in Europe.
Musa is a football icon especially in the northern part of Nigeria where he grew up and played in the earlier days of his career. He was selected as Nigeria's third most marketable footballer for his exceptional speed on the ball, his goal scoring ability. His popularity and charisma in the north is second to none.
He was a key attacking midfielders for the Super Eagles team that won African Cup of Nation in 2013. Fondly remembered for replying Leone Messi in the FIFA World cup group game between Nigeria vs Argentina, where Musa scored a brace. Perhaps, he is at the peak of his career now and would be leading figure in the new Super Eagles team.
4. Odion Ighalo/ EPL / Watford fc
Odion Ighalo is perhaps Nigeria's most consistent striker today. He has proven his quality after helping Watford gain promotions to Epl, has continued to score goals at the top flight.
Ighalo was selected as the fourth Nigeria's most marketable player due his age, promise, skills and willpower. Ighalo is in top form for his club and may just turn out to be best in the Epl this season. Already teams like Manchester United, Borussia Dortumd and PSG have shown interest.
Many of the respondents agreed that Ighalo's growing popularity may see him become Nigeria's most recognizable football icon in the following months. Ighalo scored in his debut for the Nigerian National team and may become the major marksman for the new Super Eagles team.
5. Vincent Enyeama/ French Ligue 1 / OSC Lille Fc
Vincent Enyeama is Nigeria's best... actually Africa's best goalkeeper and runner up in BBC African football of the year 2014 as well as the 2nd runner up in CAF African footballer of the year 2014.
Enyeama has been Nigeria's first choice goalkeeper for over a decade perhaps achieved more than any Nigerian goalie. Won Caf Champions league, African Cup of Nations and been in three FIFA World Cups.
Enyeama may be on his way out after more than a 100 caps for the Super Eagles, that may have affected his present marketability. Perhaps again, he isn't that a charismatic Captain like Peter Rufai and Ilke Shorumu. But Enyeama's achievements has made one the most recognized face in Africa.