With the African Cup of Nations kicking off this week, NTOF will be looking at some of the most interesting African players to grace Scottish football. Next on the list is Nigerian left back Juwon Oshaniwa, who had a spell at Hearts.
Having been linked with Celtic previously, the Nigerian’s arrival was hotly anticipated in Gorgie. However, such promise later equalled disappointment for the capital club.
Keen on joining the Jambos, Oshaniwa can only be considering an underwhelming addition after arriving from Israeli outfit FC Ashdod.
Oshaniwa was a World Cup wonder
Brazil’s 2014 World Cup was a fantastic tournament. Eventual runners-up Argentina happened to be in Nigeria’s, and Oshaniwa’s, group. Both teams advanced leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iran behind.
The duo met in the final group stage game with Lionel Messi being Oshaniwa’s direct opponent. A brace from who many consider to be the greatest of all time was cancelled out by Oshaniwa’s teammate and former Leicester striker Ahmed Musa. Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo would head home the winner as Argentina beat the Africans 3-2.
Terrible at Tynecastle
So having attracted a World Cup star as a newly promoted Premiership outfit, Oshaniwa was meant to answer Hearts’ left-back prayers. Ironic, in that the only prayers he conducted were after the teams would come out onto the Tynecastle turf.
A crazy character off the park, he was a pretty poor player on it.
Anticipated arrival, underwhelming end
Oshaniwa eventually arrived in Edinburgh at the start of the 2015-16 season, after numerous complications regarding his visa. The Jambos would go on to finish third as a newly promoted top tier team, under Robbie Neilson.
He didn’t make any appearances in the 2016-17 season and was released a year before his Hearts deal was set to expire.
His Tynecastle tenure was able to show Scottish football that a Nigerian international signing for your club isn’t always as great as it seems.