The year 2016 has been a great one for Nigerian sports men and women, and, to this effect, NAIJ.com launches a poll for all the readers to decide on the athlete of the year.
Our editorial team has carefully selected four sportsmen who represented the country well throughout the calendar.
Voting on the reader’s choice poll shall last for two weeks and the results will be announced on December 30.
Below are the nominees for NAIJ.com's athlete of the year 2016.
1. Kelechi Iheanacho
The 20-year-old has been in scintillating form for the club and the country all-through the year.
In his competitive debut against Egypt in a 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifying match, the Manchester City's forward provided an assist for Oghenekaro Etebo in the home game.
In August, the player scored the lone goal to help Nigeria defeat Tanzania in Uyo.
On October 9, he yet again netted a super goal in far away Ndola to help Nigeria beat Zambia 2 – 1 in the opening fixture of the final round of the World Cup qualifiers for Russia 2018.
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2. Asisat Oshoala
The super falcon Asisat scored six amazing goals in four games for to help Nigeria win the just-concluded African Women Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The 22-year-old Arsenal ladies’ star had a an amazing year and was outstanding in the AFCON qualifiers. She surely deserves a place in NAIJ.com's shortlist.
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3. Mikel Obi
The 2016 will not be forgotten so soon by the Chelsea defensive midfielder captained Nigeria to claim the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil also getting a crucial goal at the tournament.
Mikel also personally paid hotel bills for the Dream Team at their training camp ahead of the Olympic games.
The 29-year-old’s electrifying performances has helped Nigeria to a very good chance of qualifying for Russia 2018.
Mikel scored against Algeria as Nigeria thrashed the North Africans 3 - 1 in Uyo. He was also outstanding in the mid-field as Nigeria edged Zambia 2 – 1 at the ongoing World Cup qualifiers. The road to Russia continues. BTW, do you remember that his sweetheart Olga is of Russian origin?! :)
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4. Chierika Ukogu
Chierika is the first Nigerian professional rower to qualify for and represent Nigeria at the Olympics. The 24-year-old had to raise $15,000 through her GoFundMe page for her to compete at the Rio Olympics.
Despite the challenges she faced before her trip to Brazil, Chierika shocked the world when she qualified for the semi-final of the competition after placing 5th in her group, creating history for Nigeria. No medal at the moment, but she has everything to make Nigeria proud at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics!