Nigerian soccer fans will be excited to learn that all three of their remaining star players in the UEFA Europa League this season – Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze and Tyronne Ebuehi – were on Friday kept apart in the quarter-finals draw.
While the English Premier League could not achieve a complete separation of all four remaining clubs in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals draw same day, the three Nigerian lads will not have to tango one another in search of semi-final tickets.
This is because the draw on Friday placed Iwobi’s Arsenal of England away to AS Napoli of Italy, while Chukwueze’s Villarreal will welcome Valencia in a Spanish derby, and Ebuehi’s Benfica of Portugal receive Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany.
In the last match of the quarter-finals’ fixtures, Slavia Prague of Czech Republic have Chelsea as visitors, in a game that will interest several Nigerian players from The Blues who are currently on loan elsewhere.
Chelsea’s Nigerian legion outside England on loan includes Victor Moses at Fernebahce of Turkey, Kenneth Omeruo at Leganes of Spain and Ola Aina at Torino of Italy, while Tammy Abraham is in England wirth Aston Villa and Fikayo Tomori at fellow-Championship side, Derby County.
However, the real attention for Nigeria in the Europa League next month will be on Iwobi in Naples, Italy and Chukwueze in Spain, he will hope to help The Yellow Submarine overcome the more favoured Los Che.
On the other hand, Ebuehi has failed to play a single competitive match for Benfica, as he got injured during pre-season, few months after arriving from ADO Den Haag of Holland, and it is left to be seen if he would be cleared for action in the first leg at home against Frankfurt.