Nigerian excellence continues in Europe, Ghana's Andre Ayew gives Swansea edge

Kelechi Iheanacho has a solid record at international level: eight goals in 14 appearances for Nigeria between 2015 and 2017. Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Nigerian stars were again at the forefront as the end-of-season honours continued to be dished out at the weekend, with the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Asisat Oshoala all getting their hands on medals.

In the Championship playoffs, Andre Ayew's scintillating winner gave Swansea City a 1-0 advantage going into their semifinal second leg against Barnsley.

Here's the pick of Africa's players abroad this weekend.

Nigeria's stars winning the big prizes

The FA Cup and the UEFA Women's Champions League were settled at the weekend, with Nigeria's stars on the right side of two memorable triumphs.

Leicester City's 1-0 victory against Chelsea at Wembley will live long in the memory, not least because of the presence of fans at the stadium and the emotional scenes at the final whistle as the Foxes won the trophy for the first time in their 137-year history.

Youri Tielemans' thunderous winner was enough for the East Midlanders, who also had a superb rearguard performance to thank for a remarkable victory.

Wilfred Ndidi was imperious in the heart of the park, relishing the tussle with his King Power predecessor, N'Golo Kante, and making a game-high seven tackles.

His discipline was vital in protecting the Foxes' centre-backs, and the midfielder -- who arrived at Leicester the season after their miraculous Premier League success -- later dedicated the victory to his daughter.

Kelechi Iheanacho, by contrast, enjoyed much less influence in the final.

In truth, he seemed off the pace -- slow of mind and body -- and appeared to be engulfed by the towering Antonio Rudiger every time the ball arrived at his feet.

He was withdrawn on 66 minutes having possession a whopping nine times in an underwhelming end to what has been a remarkable FA Cup campaign.

The big day may have passed Iheanacho by, but few players have had a bigger influence in Leicester's run to the final -- with the Nigerian scoring the winning goals against Southampton in the semifinal and Brighton & Hove Albion in the fifth round, and a double against Manchester United in the quarters.

Nwankwo Kanu, Odion Ighalo and Emmanuel Emenike were among the ex-Super Eagles stars to pay tribute to the victorious pair on social media, as Ndidi and Iheanacho followed in the footsteps of the likes of Daniel Amokachi, Alex Iwobi and Celestine Babayaro as Nigerian FA Cup winners.

There was one black mark against the Foxes' success, however, with footage emerging after the match of utility man and Ghana international Daniel Amartey throwing the Chelsea pennant over his shoulder flippantly in the Leicester dressing room.

Considering the pennant's symbolism, it's understandably being viewed as a considerable show of disrespect from the West African, although the Foxes are understood to have apologised to the defeated finalists.

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Asisat Oshoala also won a big prize, the Super Falcons superstar making up for her Champions League failure in 2019 as Barcelona smashed Chelsea 4-0 in this year's showpiece.

The 26-year-old was on the losing side two years ago, when, despite becoming the first African to score in a UEFA Women's Champions League final, her Barcelona team was defeated 4-1 by Lyon.

This season, however, Lyon's run of five consecutive titles has been ended, with Barca getting their hands on a maiden European trophy.

Oshoala featured for the final 20 minutes as the Spanish giants got over the line, and she could have added a fifth goal only for her effort to be ruled out for offside.

"It was very important not to make the mistakes of the past but to learn from [them]," Oshoala told BBC Sport Africa. "I can only thank God who has made everything possible through sheer hard work, by playing alongside this incredibly talented group that creates a lovely family atmosphere.

"It's is a great feeling and I can't really put my emotions into words because it has been a tough journey to get here.

"I hope this will continue to inspire other young girls in Africa and motivate everyone around the world that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to and work hard for it."

Oshoala, who has also clinched consecutive Spanish titles with Barca, becomes the first African player to win the grandest prize in women's club football.

Surely she's on course for a fifth African Women's Footballer of the Year prize.

There were further Nigerian success stories, as Shehu Abdullahi and Ezekiel Henty won titles in Cyprus and Slovakia respectively, Joe Aribo and Leon Balogun Rangers' ended their undefeated Scottish Premiership title-winning campaign on 102 points, and Tosin Kehinde won the Danish Cup with Randers FC.

No other African nation can point to so many success stories across Europe right now.

Ayew gives Swansea edge in Championship playoffs

The English League Championship playoffs -- broadcast in Africa on ESPN -- represent the dramatic conclusion of a gruelling campaign.

There's so much at stake as well, with the winners set for an eye-watering windfall and access to the riches of the Premier League.

Andre Ayew was the star performer in Monday's semifinal first-leg matches, reaffirming his quality -- surely too good for the second tier -- with a delicious first-half effort to give Swansea City a 1-0 victory at Barnsley.

Picking up Kyle Naughton's pass, Ayew cut in between two defenders and curled a fine effort beyond the Tykes' stopper.

"Andre came up with a bit of magic," Swans boss Steve Cooper said after the match. "The goal is the obvious thing to talk about, but he runs as much as anyone to help out."

Ayew is the final big-name remnant of the Swans' last stint in the top flight, but it's not due to lack of suitors, with both Paris Saint-Germain and Brighton having been linked with a move for the attacker in the past 12 months.

His wages -- understood to be £90,000 per week -- have proved to be a stumbling block, and it's to his credit that he's knuckled down and netted 17 goals as the Welsh club has sought a return to the top table.

In the other semifinal, Bournemouth defeated Barnsley 1-0 with Arnaut Danjuma the hero.

The speedy wideman scored the only goal of the game - capping off a searing counterattack - to demonstrate why Nigeria are understood to be monitoring his willingness to switch nationalities.

Dominic Solanke, who was involved in the build-up to Danjuma's winner, missed an earlier chance to break the deadlock and will be hoping that Daryl Dike-inspired Barnsley don't make the Cherries regret their missed chances in the return leg.

In Italy, Simy Nwankwo took his tally for the season to 20 league goals as he rescued a draw for Crotone against Benevento.

The Sharks may already be relegated but the towering forward stepped up to make a late impact for Crotone as they fought back to salvage a 1-1 draw.

Simy is the second African in Serie A history -- and the first since Samuel Eto'o in the 2010-11 season -- to hit the 20-goal mark in the Italian top flight.

The forward's haul equalled his return in the second tier last season, and his latest strike was a fine way to celebrate his recall to Gernot Rohr's Super Eagles squad.

M'bala Nzola, who is being linked with a move to West Ham United, was again among the goals as Spezia defeated Torino 4-1 to confirm their place among the elite for next season.

The Angola attacker enjoyed a purple patch over the winter, but he had been without a goal in 10 games before striking twice as the Turin heavyweights were dispatched.