Strikers and midfielders make most of the headlines because of their more advanced roles on the field of play, but defenders play an almost equal role in the achievements of their team's objectives. It is often said that great strikers win matches but great defenses win titles. In recognition of the importance of defenders, Goalball Live brings to you six best defenders from the 2022-2023 NPFL season.
Ebube Duru’s statistics from the just concluded 2023 season was impressive. The Rivers United left-back featured 25 times for the former NPFL champions, with 7 goals contribution to his name. He scored 5 goals and registered 2 assists. He was one of the best defenders in the league last season. His contribution to Rivers United helped the club to qualify for the playoffs, and also a place in continental competitions next season.
Rivers United's Ebube Duru's thunder strike ⚡pic.twitter.com/jK3VZsbN3W
— Vidafan.co (@VidafanCo) January 17, 2022
The set piece specialist was so good for Stanley Eguma's side that he caught the eyes of the Super Eagles coach, Jose Poseiro, who invited him to the Eagles camp for the AFCON 2023 qualifier against Sierra Leone.
Remo Star’s right-back Sodiq Ismaila was the player with the most assists (8) in the NPFL 2022-2023 season. Remo Stars SC didn’t lose a single game in which Sodiq Ismaila featured in all through the season. He made 15 appearances for Remo Stars, with 8 victories and 7 draws. His 8 assists last season ensured Remo Stars qualified for the playoffs, and also a place in CAF Champions League next season. His performances put him up there as one of the best defenders of the NPFL season.
Onyebuchi Ifeanyi (23 years) is one of the best defenders of the NPFL in the just concluded season. The youngster who joined the Plateau State club in September, 2022 from MFM FC impressed during his debut season at his new club, winning player of the month award for Plateau United in January.
Defender Ifeanyi Onyebuchi Emmanuel has been named Plateau United's player of the month (January).
— NPFL News 🇳🇬 (@NPFL_News) February 17, 2023
The center-back is one of the top scoring defenders in the league in the just concluded season, scoring four times in 15 appearances for the Jos side. His goals were instrumental for Plateau's 5th-place finish in Group A of the NPFL regular season.
He also scored in all competitions he featured in last season (CAF Champions League 2, CAF Confederations Cup 1, and NPFL 4) making him the only defender to achieve such a record among all defenders in the league last season. Ifeanyi has maintained a high level of discipline as he finished the season without conceding any card in all competitions.
Ebube Duru Of Rivers United and James Ajako of Akwa United are very instrumental and Top left back in NPFL23 this season for there club side this season with Goals and Assists#NPFL23 pic.twitter.com/aOyYftBkn2
— G.insua (@insua00) May 21, 2023
Ajako makes it to the list of best defenders of the 2022-23 NPFL season. The former Jigawa Golden Stars player was key to the success of the Akwa Ibom State owned club as his 3 goals and 3 assists helped Akwa United to finish in 4th place with the same points as Champions Eyimba who finished 3rd in Group A on superior goal difference.
The 23 year old left back recorded 25% goals participation for Akwa United and will hope to carry on his impressive performances of last season into the new season which is months away.
Ekerette Anthony Udom
— Engineer Kowope (@Undisputed_Jsam) May 21, 2023
The 20 year old centre back put up a stellar performance in his debut season as he joined the Akure club in October, 2022 after spending just 7 months at Dakkada FC. Udom became a delight to watch as he controlled the backline for Sunshine Stars and helped them to finish 3rd in Group B of the abridged season. He registered 4 goals to his name as a defender last season for Sunshine Stars.
The goal scoring defender notched one of his goals in the Championship playoffs where his Sunshine Stars side finished 4th in the Super Six.
Bendel insurance Goal keeper Amas Obasogie ,Anyanwu Sunday,James Ajako and Imade Osarenkhoe make NPFL23 player of the week Match Day 4 pic.twitter.com/qhQnWBIm9z
— G.insua (@insua00) January 31, 2023
Sunday Anyanwu was a defensive stalwart for Monday Adigie's Insurance team. He was an ever present figure in the backline as the team went on an unbeaten streak of 21 games. He made 22 appearances for the Benin Arsenal, where he along with his defense partners ensured Insurance kept 9 clean sheets out of the 22 games he featured in last season. Sunday did not score for Insurance, but he was grounded in defense for the team, finishing the season as one of the best defenders.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago