A first-time entry for both player and country, Sunday Mba has been Nigeria’s revelation over the last year.
The midfielder’s inclusion, along with five other home-based players, in Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations squad raised eyebrows but the 24-year-old played better than many of the nation’s more heralded foreign contingent.
Having started the tournament on the bench, Mba was Nigeria’s hero in the knockout stages. He scored the winner in the quarter-final against Cote d'Ivoire to spell the end for Didier Drogba’s trophyless 'golden generation'. Then in the final itself, Mba fired home the only goal against Burkina Faso to gift Nigeria their first Afcon title since 1994.
The 24-year-old was also one of Nigeria’s best performers at the Confederations Cup and has helped to draw attention to the depth of talent in the Nigerian league.
A drawn out transfer tussle between Warri Wolves - who own the player and his full transfer rights - and new club Enugu Rangers - where he will stay on loan until the end of the league season in September - mean he has played just a single domestic game, scoring one goal.
HONOURS: AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS