Elderson Echiejile

He started out as an attacker, but today Elderson Echiejile's attacking instincts remain in fine fettle even as a left-back.

His ability to get forward down the flank and whip in crosses is one of Nigeria’s most potent weapons.

The 24-year-old (dob 20 January 1988) was typically considered an understudy to Taye Taiwo for the left-back spot, but he took his opportunity when Taiwo suffered a dip in form at the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.

After the Super Eagles were dismantled 3-1 by Egypt in their first match in Angola, Echiejile started the second against Benin and helped the team hold on for a 1-0 victory. He kept his place through shutout wins over Mozambique and Zambia, earning positive notices for his energetic running and growing confidence. After doing well in the 1-0 defeat to Ghana in the last four, Echiejile gave way to Taiwo, who came back for the third-place victory over Algeria.
 
Taiwo’s career has recently had all the ups and downs of a rollercoaster and the former Insurance of Benin star has taken his chance as his rival’s career has faltered.
 
Echiejile had first come to prominence in Canada at the 2007 U-20 World Cup and made his full international debut in the famous 1-0 victory over France in Paris.

Despite showing his precocious ability then, he only appeared in three qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, but two of those were the crucial  final wins over Mozambique and Kenya that allowed the Super Eagles to sneak into the finals.

He made his Bendel Insurance FC, making his first-team debuts at 16. In August 2007, he made the move to France and Stade Rennais where he stayed for three years

Although his time in France is best described as mixed, he did well enough to secure a June 2010 move to Sporting de Braga in Portugal for €2,5 million on a four-year deal.

Since the move he has established himself as a regular at the Portuguese outfit, reaching the final of the Europa League in 2011 and the Champions League group stage in 2012.

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