When you think Nigerian football, the flashy attacking play and the top class attackers come to mind. Names like Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu are usually talked about. But this isn't only the case with the top Nigerian stars now, as this is also the case when the top Nigerian prospects get talked about. There are young defensive players from Nigeria and the latest defensive minded player making a name for himself is Adewale Oladoye.


Oladoye was born in 2001 in the country he represents, Nigeria. He joined the Water Football academy at a tender age. Now 19-year-old quickly rose through the ranks with the club.

In the Flying Eagles team, he has made himself into an undroppable player for Ladan Bosso's team. He's started a majority of Flying Eagles games and shown fans why he's highly rated. 


Oladoye's style of play is that of a pure defensive midfielder. He's not going to be heavily involved in the attack, as most of his work occurs when the opposition has possession. The Water FC starlet likes to tackle and block shots, which can lead to fouls and yellow card accumulation. He's very tall with his 1.80m frame, and Oladoye is good in the air as shown by occasionally getting his head on a corner. But when he is deployed at centre-back, he's less dynamic and more of a man who stays in his position. He is more often deployed in the midfield, where he thrives.

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What has led Oladoye to becoming a first team defensive midfielder for the Flying Eagles are his main strengths as a player. His tackling is one of his best attributes, as he averages over 2.5 per game and he had 4 in the gritty 1-1 draw against Cote d'Ivoire. In that game, he was the best player on the pitch and he made crucial tackles for the Flying Eagles, which led to their defensive masterclass for most of the game. The main reason why Oladoye is an effective tackler is that he does it without fouling, as he only averages 1.5 fouls per game. 

This is why he rare picks up bookings, despite the high amount of tackles that he attempts. Besides his tackling, he is also good in the air, which led to 6 successful aerial duels against Cote d'Ivoire. Oladoye averages 2 aerial duels won per game, even though as a defensive midfielder he doesn't get a lot of chances. His height helps him thrive in the air, and his aerial ability is why he is occasionally deployed at centre back.

Another one of his strengths is his passing as Oladoye has improved in this area of his game. In the game against Cote d'Ivoire, he had up to 88% passing with 5 long balls and 53 passes. His passing ability is very important. His ability on the ball makes him a reliable presence in the midfield, and someone who can assist in the passing game in addition to his defensive contribution.


One of Oladoye's main weaknesses is that he doesn’t contribute a lot to the attacking side of the pitch. Even though he's a good passer, his passes are mostly for retaining possession. If he wants to become a complete defensive midfielder, he needs to look to provide assists and create chances. If Oladoye ends up being primarily a centre back, being better on the ball would still be important.

Besides his lack of key passes, he also doesn't dribble past people, which is displayed by his 0.1 dribbles per game. At midfield or centre back, being able to dribble past the opposition can be instrumental to building up to a goal or helping establish control over a game. 

With valuable experience being gained with the national team, has a lot of potential. With his frame and defensive ability, he contributes in areas that are valuable for any side. With the ability that Water FC have shown in developing young players, Adewale Oladoye is certainly one to watch in the next few seasons.

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