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Nigerians at AS Monaco: A History

Michael Emenalo became the latest Nigerian to join AS Monaco when the former international defender was appointed as the club's technical director on Monday.

The 52-year-old comes into his new role having enjoyed a seven-year stint at Chelsea, but he may be wary of some of the underwhelming track record of his compatriots at the Stade Louis II.

In this feature, KweséESPN profile the five Nigerians to have spent time at the Club of the Principality.

Victor Ikpeba: We begin with a major success story!

No Nigerian player has achieved more at Monaco than Ikpeba, who enjoyed the most productive period of his playing career during his six-year stay with the French heavyweights.

Signed as a 20-year-old by Arsene Wenger in 1993, the forward was a fan favourite, affectionately earning the nickname 'The Prince of Monaco' during his goal-laden spell.

Ikpeba went on to win the 1996/97 Ligue 1 title, scored a total of 55 goals in the French top flight and acted as a mentor to a younger generation of forwards including Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet.

Sani Keita: Hardworking midfielder Keita was signed by Monaco in 2008 following a fine performance at the Beijing Olympics.

He had been underused at Sparta Rotterdam since signing from Kano Pillars, but his fortunes didn't improve too much at the Stade Louis II.

Keita managed just three league outings and eventually left the club - for Tavriya Simferopol - in 2011 after a series of loan moves across Eastern Europe.

Lukman Haruna was recommended to Monaco as a highly rated teenager, only a couple of months after captaining Nigeria at the U-17 World Cup in South Korea and making his senior international debut against Sudan.

The dynamic midfielder was expected to be a big hit at the club after initially spending some time integrating into French football with the reserve squad.

In his first full season with the first team, Haruna made 26 appearances across all competitions, and memorably scored a stunning goal against Sochaux.

Currently without a club, Haruna last featured for the Super Eagles in mid-2015, and it's safe to say that his career hasn't lived up to expectations.

Rabiu Afolabi: Nicknamed Robocop due to his unflinching style of play, Afolabi had a short stint with Monaco in Ligue 2.

The defender, who made both the 2002 and 2010 World Cup squads, was renowned for his versatility, but while he started strongly with the Monegasques, his influence faded and he was released with a year remaining on his contract.

He subsequently retired following a brief spell with SonderjyskE.

Elderson Echiejile: The left back joined Monaco from SC Braga in January 2015, but while he initially kept rival Layvin Kurzawa out of the side, his progress stalled in the Club of the Principality.

A combination of poor form, injury and the 2016 signing of Benjamin Mendy all conspired to push him out of the club.

He spent time on loan with Standard Liege and Sporting Gijon before signing for Sivasspor earlier this year.


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