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Five NPFL stars who successfully made the move to Europe

While many stars of the Nigeria Professional Football League never make the move to Europe - or fail to succeed when they get there - some of the division's top players have successfully been picked up by European sides after starring domestically.

Here are five players who successfully made the move to Europe after impressing in the NPFL.

Christian Obodo: The talented playmaker was on the books of Plateau United when he featured for Nigeria at the 2001 African Youth Championship in Ethiopia.

Despite the Flying Eagles' poor showing and eventual group-stage exit, Obodo appeared to have caught the attention of top scouts at the tournament.

The 17-year-old was transferred in the summer of 2001 to Perugia, and while he took time to settle in his new surroundings, he eventually and memorably scored the first goal of his Serie A career against Inter Milan.

He also earned his first senior international cap for Nigeria against Ghana in the same month, going on to forge a solid reputation in the Italian top flight, featuring for Fiorentina, Udinese, Torino and Lecce.

Taiye Taiwo turned heads in the domestic league for two seasons, first with Gabros International and later Lobi Stars, catching the eye with a series of dazzling long-range strikes with his sublime left foot.

The left-back earned his first international cap against South Africa in the 2004 Nelson Mandela Challenge while on the books of Lobi Stars, and then proceeded to achieve even bigger things, securing a move to French giants Olympique Marseille on the eve of the 2005 African Youth Championship.

After initially struggling to get into the first-team under the tutelage of the 'White Witch Doctor', Philippe Troussier, Taiwo became an undisputed starter in his second season and never looked back, going on to win several honours including a Ligue1 title in his six-and-a-half year career with Marseille.

Seyi Olajengbesi: The towering and hard-tackling central defender forged a fine reputation in the Nigeria domestic league before his 2004 transfer from Julius Berger to SC Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

Olajengbesi was already a full Nigeria international by the time he made the switch to the Brazilians of Breisgau, but suffered relegation during his first campaign.

He spent three seasons with Freiburg and played his entire professional career abroad in Germany.

Obinna Nsofor: Destiny perhaps played a part in Obinna securing a move to Chievo Verona after a failed transfer to Internacional of Brazil in February 2005 due to his International Transfer Certificate being refused.

Further disappointment awaited the exciting forward, who was surprisingly dropped by coach Samson Siasia from the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship squad.

However, he made up for those big losses by sealing a deal from Enyimba to Chievo Verona in a co-ownership deal with Inter Milan.

Nsofor made a goalscoring debut for the Flying Donkeys against Parma in September 2005, netting six goals in his maiden season in Serie A and then befittingly earning his debut international cap for Nigeria at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Elderson Echiejile was part of the Golden Eaglets team at the 2005 African U17 Championship in Gambia, and played in the final of the 2006 Coca Cola FA Cup final (now the Aiteo Cup) for Bendel Insurance early in his career.

He was an integral member of the Flying Eagles team at both the 2007 African Youth Championship and FIFA U-20 World Cup, and demonstrated his offensive class with goals in both tournaments.

The left-back's performances at youth level earned him a move to Europe, and he's subsequently featured for Stade Rennais, SC Braga, Monaco, Sporting Gijon and Standard Liege.

The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winner is currently on loan at Sivasspor, and looks primed to start for the Super Eagles at the World Cup next summer.

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