New signing at Stoke City of England, Oghenekaro Etebo has found another feather added to his growing cap of laurels, following the appearance of his name as the only African in the first phase best 11 list of players at the 2018 World Cup.
In spite of scoring an own goal on Saturday, Etebo was named man of the match in Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to Croatia, but he has been deemed Africa’s best player so far at the unfolding Mundial.
Etebo was widely regarded as the best player for Nigeria in the game with some even suggesting he should have won the man of the match award ahead of Luka Modric.
Etebo earned praises from Croatia midfield maestro Ivan Rakitic , who said the star made him play deep in his half and in a bid to keep a check on him he couldn’t venture forward as he would have loved.
His performance has now earned him a spot in the Best XI Players for the first round of a game alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa among others selected after voting.
In the game against Croatia, Etebo set a new record for take-ons in a single World Cup group game and talks about a rushed move to Stoke from CD Feirense of Portugal has surfaced.
Consequently, after the first round of group matches in Russia, Etebo has been named as one of the best players in a list compiled by Sofascore.
Etebo is the only Nigerian and African in the Best XI, which is dominated by players from Mexico after their 1-0 win against defending champions Germany on match day one.
Etebo was rated 7.8, completing a pass accuracy of 92.5%, winning 19 of his 23 duels contested, completing 100% dribbles, whilst also recording a stat as the most fouled player on the pitch after been brought down 9 times by opposition players.
Conspicuously missing from the list, however, is Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who performed below expectation in their opening game against Iceland, and missed a crucial penalty.
The Russia 2018 first round best 11 list has: Guillermo Ochoa (Mexico) – Jesus Gallerdo (Mexico), Andres Grangvist (Sweden), Jose Gimenez (Uruguay), Kieran Trippier (England) – Oghenekharo Etebo (Nigeria), Hector Herrera (Mexico) – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Hirving Lorenzo (Mexico) –and Diego Costa (Spain).