MEET THE SUPER EAGLES: Shehu Abdullahi

Born in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria on March 12, 1993, Shehu Usman Abdullahi has come a long way to become the Super Eagles first option at right back.

Like most Nigerian football stars, Shehu started his football education in the Nigerian leagues where he developed his game up to a professional level. Shehu began his football journey at youth level with the developmental side of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) giants, Plateau United, in 2011. He then made his first professional appearance for another Northern side Kano Pillars, where he played for two seasons.

After his exploits with Kano Pillars where he won three straight NPFL titles, Shehu earned his first move abroad when he signed for Qadsia SC of Kuwait in a deal worth $480,000. After just one season in Kuwait, Shehu decided to move to Europe and signed for Portuguese side União da Madeira shortly after they gained promotion to the first division.

Another season in Portugal added to Shehu’s experience and he decided to move again, this time to Anorthosis Famagusta of Cyprus.

Shehu thrived with Anorthosis where he settled to play for two seasons and became a fan’s favourite before a move to the Turkish Super Lig with Bursaspor in the 2018 winter transfer window.

MEET THE SUPER EAGLES: Shehu Abdullahi 1

Shehu came up the ranks to play for the senior team, even though he did not play for Nigeria at U-17 level, his first international competition was with the Flying Eagles team enroute to the 2013 African U-20 Championship.

 

Shehu was an integral part of the team that finished in third place at the 2013 African U-20 Championship held in Algeria and was also included in the Flying Eagles team that crashed out in the second round of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Turkey.

He continued his development moving up the ranks as he was selected to be part of Stephen Keshi’s home-based Super Eagles team that won a bronze medal at the 2014 African Nations Championship.

Shehu also turned out for the U-23 national team that won a bronze medal in the football event of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and from there he became a key part of Gernot Rohr’s squad in the qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Shehu was included in the team to the World cup in Russia and started the first group game against Croatia. Playing in a more defensive role for Nigeria, Shehu is yet to score for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a total of 25 appearances.

MEET THE SUPER EAGLES: Shehu Abdullahi 2

Shehu started his formative years as an attacking midfielder where he used his precision passing to break opposition defence and control the game. Not with the biggest body frame, Shehu always had a high work rate, which was one of his noticeable traits while he was in the NPFL with Kano Pillars. Over the years when he moved abroad he has been able to add some dynamism to his gameplay by learning several positions in midfield. However, while he has largely occupied midfield roles in his club career, Shehu’s breakthrough with the senior national team has come in the right back position where he is now first choice.

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