Who is Nigeria's best player to have featured in WAFU Cup of Nations?
The WAFU Cup of Nations is upon us again, and Nigeria, as usual, will be contenders for the title. The Super Eagles B side has been to the final at each of the three editions they have contested, winning once.
In doing so, they have thrown up a number of players who have gone on to make a splash in the main Super Eagles team.
Here are five of the best.
Ahmed Musa (2010)
Musa is by far and away the most prominent of the players who have used the WAFU Cup of Nations to launch their careers has been. In 2010, the virtually unknown Kano Pillars hotshot was a member of the squad that claimed Nigeria's only title so far.
Musa, on his way to winning the Nigerian league Golden Boot, underwhelmed, scoring just twice as they went unbeaten throughout the tournament as host nation. His first goal came in the second group game, a 5-0 rout of Guinea that secured progress from the group stage. The second followed in the very next game, a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso in the semifinals.
Musa went on to represent Nigeria at under-20 level, and then made his Super Eagles debut a year later as a substitute in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea in Conakry.
The Super Eagles lost that game 1-0, as an inexperienced Musa, thrown on by Austin Eguavoen to help turn the tide, stayed on his feet despite being clipped when his pace had got him past the Guinea defence.
Musa has since represented Nigeria at two FIFA World Cups, becoming the Super Eagles' all-time leading goal scorer at the showpiece tournament -- with four -- and won the Nations Cup title with the Super Eagles. He is currently the team captain.
Ejike Uzoenyi (2010, 2011)
Ejike Uzoenyi represented Nigeria at two WAFU Cup tournaments, winning one title. The forward was not exactly a star on the WAFU stage, but his performances were enough to earn him a full debut in 2012 as Nigeria embarked on qualifying campaigns.
He went on to feature in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, playing his part as the Super Eagles came away champions.
A year later, he broke out spectacularly at the African Nations Championship (CHAN), scoring three goals and supplying four assists in six games as the late Stephen Keshi's team came away with the bronze medal.
Uzoenyi also was a member of Nigeria's squad to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Unfortunately, his club career has not gone so well, as moves to South African clubs Mamelodi Sundowns and then Ajax Cape Town just did not quite pan out.
Ekigho Ehiosun (2011)
As a forward with Warri Wolves, Ekigho Ehiosun burst out in a flurry of goals under Samson Siasia. Called up as a replacement for the injured Victor Anichebe as Nigeria prepared for a friendly against Sierra Leone, Ehiosun announced himself by scoring within seven minutes of coming on.
His place in the WAFU Cup of Nations squad was all but secured after that, and he carried his form into the tournament, posting four goals in three consecutive games to make him the Super Eagles' leading scoring striker at the tournament.
Ehiosun's international career tallied just six games, due to injuries and constant club changes, but still he was good enough to secure a move to Turkey's Samsunspor and then Genclebirligi.
Reuben Gabriel (2010)
Nigeria's 2014 FIFA World Cup midfielder Gabriel Reuben made his bones for the Super Eagles in the 2010 WAFU Cup tournament.
One of the bigger-name players in the squad, Gabriel showed his quality, scoring three goals from midfield as the Super Eagles won the tournament on home soil -- including one in the 2-0 title game win over Senegal.
Naturally, the showing earned him a full call-up and debut in a 5-2 win over Congo DRC, with his first senior goal coming in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malawi.
Reuben went to become part of Nigeria's Afcon 2013-winning squad, although he never played at the tournament.
A year later, however, he did play at the biggest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup, featuring as a substitute for the injured Ogenyi Onazi as Nigeria lost to France in the Round of 16.
His club career has not been quite as inspiring, and his international career appears to have become stuck on 12 caps.
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (2017)
Ezenwa presents a chicken-and-egg situation as far as WAFU is concerned. He was already a regular Super Eagles squad member before playing at the WAFU Cup of Nations, but his showing at the tournament in Ghana in some way helped to cement his position in the senior team.
A member of the class of 2017, Ezenwa kept four clean sheets as Nigeria reached the final but then shipped four goals as a discombobulated side was were dismantled 4-1 by hosts Ghana.
It was not enough, though, to deny Ezenwa recognition as Goalkeeper of the Tournament, a deserved reward for his earlier heroics.
Ezenwa carried that form into Nigeria's World Cup qualifying games after Daniel Akpeyi was axed, and he continues to be a regular squad member.