PulseSports30: Okoye back among the best as Olawoyin finishes ahead of Tella

2024 PulseSports30 (16-20)

PulseSports30: Okoye back among the best as Olawoyin finishes ahead of Tella

Pulse Sports Team 08:08 - 19.06.2024

It is that time of the year again as PulseSports30 returns to celebrate the best Nigerian players of the 2023/2024 season.

PulseSports30 is an annual football ranking that celebrates the 30 best-performing Nigerian footballers from across the globe.

PulseSports30 makes a return for a third year, recognising the 30 best-performing Nigerian footballers from the 2023/2024 football season.

As a non-discriminatory annual ranking, PulseSports30 considers footballers of Nigerian heritage who performed excellently either in Africa, Asia, Europe, North/South America, or Oceania.

Over the next five days, we will reveal a batch of five players that made our list until we get to number one.

We continue this year's ranking by revealing players ranked between 20-16.

20. Maduka Okoye

Maduka Okoye seals a spot in our PulseSports30 after his strong performances for Udinese

Missing out on AFCON 2023 was a blow to the previously out-of-favour Maduka Okoye, but he has since returned to prominence in Udine. 

Okoye who is 20th on PulseSports30, played second-fiddle to Marco Silvestri for the first half of the season at Udinese but was reinstated as the midway point of the 2023-24 season approached, leading to slightly improved showings between the sticks for the Little Zebras, who ultimately survived relegation on a dramatic final day in Serie A. 

His form has prompted a return to the Super Eagles, and it is no less than the goalkeeper deserves.

19. Nathan Tella

Nathan Tella is number 19 in this year's PulseSports30 after winning the double with Bayer Leverkusen

Despite a slow start to the Bundesliga campaign, Tella's patience paid off when he finally broke into the Bayer Leverkusen team. His hard work earned him more playing time in the second half of the season, and he made the most of it by scoring 12 goals and providing 7 assists to help his team achieve an unbeaten season.

While he may not get the same adulation as his teammate Victor Boniface, Tella's contributions are definitely worth recognizing, earning him a well-deserved spot in our top 20 list.

18. Elijah Adebayo

Elijah Adebayo is on our PulseSports30 list despite Luton Town's relegation from the Premier League

While Luton Town could not avoid Premier League relegation, Elijah Adebayo exited the top flight with immense credit. 

The forward notched 10 goals in the Hatters’ debut campaign, impressing with his aerial strength and imposing physicality, making his mark against champions Manchester City and title-contending Arsenal, while frightening Chelsea when they visited Kenilworth Road. 

Adebayo scored 19% of Luton's 52 goals in their short-lived top-flight experience and is placed 18th on our list.

17. Ibrahim Olawoyin

Ibrahim Olawoyin also makes the PulseSports30 list after an impressive year in Turkey

The Caykur Rizespor midfielder is the third Nigerian on the PulseSports30 list with a history in the Nigeria Premier Football League, NPFL.

After leading his modest club to promotion to the Turkish Super Lig, the 26-year-old, who featured for Rangers International, put on a show of consistency as Rizespor finished ninth in the Lig. 

Despite playing majorly as a central midfielder, the versatile star, who was fondly called ‘042 Hazard’ during his time in the NPFL, contributed eight goals and three en route to a 17th place on this list and a maiden Super Eagles call.

16. Chuba Akpom 

Chuba Akpom sits 16th in this year's PulseSports30 after a stellar season for Ajax

Ajax star Chuba Akpom had an impressive campaign with Ajax, despite starting the season poorly, leading to the sacking of their coach.

The Super Eagles star, who is ranked 16th on the PulseSports30 list, helped Ajax finish the season in 5th place in the Eredivisie.

Akpom scored 15 goals and provided three assists in 36 appearances for Ajax.

Click here to see players ranked from 25-21