The Nigerian football news scene is abuzz with excitement over the performances of Nigeria national football team striker Taiwo Awoniyi and Super Eagles prospect Gift Orban on Saturday for their clubs in the Premier League and in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League respectively.
Both strikers are among the generation that have given Nigerian football a new lease of life, causing scouts from all over the world to take a look at Nigeria to discover hidden gems.
The AFCON 2023 hopefuls are currently red hot and their teams in Europe are enjoying a good vein of form thanks to their performances.
Awoniyi Brace Earns Vital point For Relegation-Threatened Nottingham Forest
In-form Taiwo Awoniyi scored the first and the last goals in a four-goal thriller against Chelsea on Saturday in English football's top flight to help Nottingham Forest with a vital point that sees them live to fight another gameweek.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 13, 2023
The Tricky Trees returned to the top flight after decades away and immediately got to work signing the former Liverpool man, who was just coming off an incredible season with German Bundesliga club Union Berlin.
Awoniyi became their club record signing and in his first few matches, showed the fans why the club spent £17.5 million for him. Injuries would put a halt to his momentum but he has stayed fit in the past month.
Now, he is making up for lost time with his second straight brace in the Premier League to become the club's top scorer in the competition this season.
He opened the scoring against Chelsea in the 13th minute but his team's defence would let him down to concede two in seven minutes to Chelsea. Both goals were scored by Raheem Sterling.
Awoniyi would respond to Sterling's brace with his own, showing that he is a striker of immense quality. This performance could earn him a slot in the upcoming AFCON qualifiers 2023 fixtures.
Taiwo Awoniyi scores for Nottingham Forest vs. Chelsea.
Here's the story of how the Nigerian made it to the Premier League. pic.twitter.com/Fsq0V1a5LA
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) May 13, 2023
Gift Orban Hat-Trick Puts Gent in Pole Position For Conference League
As Forest's fans were praising one Nigeria Super Eagles striker, a Super Eagles prospect was turning heads in Belgium.
Gift Orban has been in Belgium for less than six months but the 20-year-old is already proving to be the best player in the league, immediately replacing Paul Onuachu who left for Southampton in the same month of Orban's arrival.
🇳🇬🌟 Gift Orban (20) continues to shine for Gent in the Belgian league. A hat-trick today vs Cercle Brugge.
19 goals + 2 assists in 19 appearances this season. pic.twitter.com/6fPHsEdarv
— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) May 13, 2023
The Jupiler Pro League is currently in their playoffs round and KAA Gent have gone ahead of their pack. Orban was instrumental in their last two wins but he took it up a notch on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick to increase the lead and the goal difference at the top of the table.
Gent now sit in pole position to return to the UEFA European Conference League next season to make up for their exit to West Ham United this season.
José Peseiro has received recommendations about including the striker in the Nigeria national football team squad for the upcoming AFCON 2023 qualifiers fixtures.
The hat-trick against Cercle Brugge on Saturday is his third since joining Gent in January. One of those came in a four-goal performance which made him the first player to do that for the Belgian team.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago