The FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will be the third time that Uwa Elderson Echiejile has appeared on the global stage. The defender first represented his country at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007 and then followed that up with an appearance at the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010™.

 

Echiejile played his first senior international in 2009 when the Super Eagles stunned France 1-0 in Saint-Etienne. Although struggling at first to get past regular full back Taye Taiwo, the 25-year-old has now established himself in the Super Eagles side and earlier this year was ever-present in Stephen Keshi's team as they won their third continental title in South Africa.

 

Surprisingly, the Benin City-born defender has not been snapped up by a big-name club in Europe. He first played senior football for Bendel Insurance when he was just 16 and moved to French club Rennes after helping the Flying Eagles reach the quarter-finals in Canada. He failed to break through into the first team though and was signed by Portuguese club Braga in 2010.

 

In his first season with the club, he helped them reach the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. After finishing third in their group behind Shakhtar Donetsk and Arsenal, Braga went into the UEFA Europa League and advanced all the way to the final. Elderson was an unused substitute in the championship match in Dublin, which Braga lost 1-0 against fellow Portuguese side Porto.

 

This season Elderson helped the club end a 47-year-long wait for a trophy as he played an important part in Braga's 1-0 League Cup victory against Porto. He made his feelings known after the win by tweeting: "A winner in Europe at last! This winners’ medal is to all those who have supported and believed in me. There will be more going forward. I love you all!!!"