Year 2016 has ended. We look at some sport personalities who made influence on and off the pitch. These people – men and women – stood out among their colleagues in 2016 and they were able to attain great milestones in their sporting career.
The former Nigerian Super Eagles captain hung his boot in 20i6 after playing for a number of club sides in Europe and for the Nigeria national team.
Yobo first played professionally for the Port-Harcourt based football club, Michellin-Harcourt where he was discovered by the Belgian giant, Standard Liege. The club acquired him and he played for them from 1998 to 2001. He was bought by the French club, Olympic Marseille in year 2001.
His wonderful performance in the French league attracted attention from the English club, Everton and they acquired his service.
Joseph Yobo made his name at Everton and he became a regular starter playing in the central back position. He became the fans’ favorite for his commanding posture on the ball. He played 196 matches for the team from 2003 to 2012 before he left for the Turkish league giant, Fenerbahce in 2012.
Yobo went back to England and played for Norwich City on loan from Fenerbahce in 2014.
For the Nigerian national team, Yobo was the most capped Nigerian player ever having played for them for 101 times before his record was matched by Vincent Enyeama.
Blessing Okagbare popularly referred as Queen of the Track, is a Nigerian female track and field athlete. She also a long jump and short sprints athlete.
Blessing is an Olympic and World Championships medalist in the long jump, and a world medallist in the 200 metres. She also holds the Women’s 100 metres Commonwealth Games record for the fastest time at 10.85 seconds.
Her 100 m best of 10.79 made her the African record holder for the event until it was eclipsed by Murielle Ahoure in 2016.
She was the African 100 m and long jump champion in 2010. She has also won medals at the All-Africa Games, IAAF Continental Cup and World Relays.
Aruna Qaudri is a Nigerian table tennis player who has represented Nigeria and various table tennis competitions.
Aruna Quadri competed for Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics, reaching the quarter-finals in the latter competition
At the World championship in 2014, he reached the quarter finals in the Men’s Singles competition.
In 2016, he was ranked number 30 in world table tennis, and the International Table Tennis Federation named him the Star Player of the year.
He is a member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
Aruna plays table tennis at club level for Sporting CP in Portugal
Asisat Oshoala is a Nigerian female footballer who plays for English female club, Arsenal FC, and for the Nigerian women national team, Super Falcons
Asisat was named the highest goal scorer at the just concluded African Women Nations Cup hosted by Cameroon and won by Nigeria. She scored 6 goals in the completions, helping Nigeria to win the competition for the tenth time.
Asisat has also been fantastic for the Arsenal FC women’s team and her speed and dribble skills have endeared her to the fans of the club.
Alex Iwobi is a Nigerian footballer and a cousin to the legend, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, another Nigerian football star who became popular with his style of entertaining football skills.
Alex Iwobi rose meteorically from the Arsenal FC youth team to being a regular starter for the first eleven during 2015-2016 premier league season. His skills and style of play have attracted comparison between him and his uncle Jay-Jay.
Iwobi was eligible to play for the Three Lions, the English football team, having played for their junior teams, but he chose to play for the Super Eagles after being influenced by his uncle Austin Okocha who is also his mentor.
Iwobi, 20, has been describes as one of the best young footballers in the world
Kelechi Iheanacho is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a striker for the English giant, Manchester City FC. He also plays for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Kelechi came to limelight in 2013 after winning the most valuable player and highest goal scorer at the FIFA U-17 world cup in the United Arab Emirate, and he was snapped by Manchester City FC.
After impressing at their under 20 team, he was invited into the main team during 2015-2016 season and he became an instant hit scoring mostly from the bench.
Iheanacho has been describes as one of the most prolific striker in the world going by his shot-to-goal records. He currently owns the English Premiership record for the best goals-to-minutes ratio of any player in Premier League history following his strike in Manchester City’s 3-0 win at Hull City on Boxing Day.