Top 10 Best Nigerian Footballer Of All Time

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Nigerians area unit captivated with soccer. the sport has one in all its largest support base in the world in Nigeria. thus Nigerian soccer stars don’t seem to be simply celebrities however square measure cult heroes of the Nigerian folks.

Nigeria has created football greats who have created their marks on the round leather game worldwide enjoying for the national team or skilled clubs.

Apart from the country’s pool of native talent, Nigeria boasts of spirited export of players to the distinguished league in Europe, America, Asia and different African countries.

From Eagles sojourn in African tournaments to debuting at the USA 94’ world cup and a path blazing performance at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic games, Nigerian soccer greats have created the state proud with their exploit on the sphere of play.

Underlisted could be a utterance of Nigeria’s top ten Greatest Footballers of all time:

Teslim Olawale Balogun

Teslim Balogun: Popularly referred to as “Thunder” Balogun because of his thunderous shots ahead of goal. Balogun was a far-famed soccer star within the mid-’60s as he compete for variety of Nigerian clubs like Apapa Bombers, Marine Athletics, UAC XI, Railways XI, Jos XI, Pan Bank and Dynamos Club.

The man who the Teslim Balogun arena was named when was the primary African to qualify as an expert coach, a effort that earned him the employment role of the 1968 Olympic team.

Thunder Balogun won a record five Challenge cup titles. He was additionally the first player to get a score within the competition as Pan Bank walloped Warri XI 5-1 in 1952.

Balogun, who had six international caps for the Nigerian team is remembered in an exceedingly heap of unforgettable footballing moment. one in all those moments was his exploit at the November ten, 1960, game in urban center because the Nigerian goal poacher excited urban center fans within the country’s 5-0 finish over Congo Brazzaville.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Known for his mischievous smile once he misses golden opportunities ahead of goals, Yakubu Aiyegbeni is one in all the simplest and most prosperous strikers to possess ever compete for the Super Eagles. “The Yak” as he’s popularly known as is that the third highest goal scorer within the Nigerian senior national team with twenty one goals. he’s solely behind the legendary Rashidi Yekini and also the “mathematical” Segun Odegbami who netted 37 and 22 goals severally within the traditional green and white jersey.

Yakubu is that the second most prolific African player when Didier Drogba player to possess ever compete within the English Premier League, having scored ninety six goals at Portsmouth, Dendroica fusca and Everton. Yak’s most moot moment as a player was his open goal miss against South Korea at the 2010 FIFA world cup. A miss that value African nation the chance to qualify for the round of sixteen.

Upon his retirement in 2017, the Edo state born striker had netted one hundred seventy five goals in 452 club appearances across European nation, Israel, Turkey and Qatar.

Muda Lawal

Mudashiru “Muda” Babatunde Lawal: Rising from a humble starting as a motor mechanic, Lawal, within the 70s’ rose to high status to become one in all Ibadan based mostly IICC Shooting Stars soccer Club’s best players.

In Muda’s initial 9-year stint at the club, he helped visible light clenched their initial ever African cup title and lots of different trophies.

He later played for Abiola Babes of Abeokuta.

Muda Lawal rose to become a fearful midfielder within the national team he was a pillar in the 1980 that won Nigeria’s initial African Cup of states (AFCON) championship in 1980. The Abeokuta born middle field meastrowas the fourth highest capped player for the Nigerian national team, showing in 86 matches and rating 12 goals.

He was recognised by CAF for creating enjoying in four AFCON tournaments and was honored with an extra national honours OON by the federal for that effort aside the MON he was awarded in 1980 for the winning the Nations Cup.

Until his untimely death in 1991, Muda Lawal was one in all the few Nigerian players who gained quality by spending all his footballing career within the native league.

Sunday Oliseh

Oliseh is doubtless the simplest ever defensive midfielder that has ever played for nigeria. The massively gifted middleer’s ability to marshal the midfield is usually a sight to lay eyes on.

Oliseh was a polar member of the 1996 Olympic Gold-winning team, where he was associate large thorn within the flesh of oppossing attackers as he served a defend for the dream team defence line. He was additionally a part of the squad to the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups in USA and France severally. maybe his most unforgettable moment for Nigeria was his winning explosive goal in Eagles 3-2 persuade European country within the initial game of France 1998 world cup.

Until his retirement in 2002, Oliseh had 63 caps for nigeria. He additionally played for FC koln, Borussia Dortmund, ajax and Juventus in his 15 years of professional football.

Stephen Okechukwu Keshi

Super Eagles longest serving skipper and later coach, the Late stephen Keshi was the first Nigerian to possess ever won the African Cup of nations as a player in 1994 and as a coach in 2013.

A defensive midfielder who popularised the jersey number four, the ex-Eagles international wasn’t simply a gifted defender however he was additionally a natural leader on the field of play. He was a bridge between the previous and also the new generation starting his career at the then inexperienced Eagles in 1981, a year when Nigeria won the African Nations’ Cup for the first time, retiring in 1994 when the Super Eagles won the cup for the second time and a debut at the world Cup.

As a player, Keshi won the West African Club Championship (1983, 1984), coupe Houphoet Boigny (1985, 1986), Belgian Cup (1988, 1989) among others

Keshi played 64 games for Nigeria rating nine goals in his footballing career spanning 15 years.

He began {professional football|football|football game|sport} career in 1985 with Stade d’Abidjan of cote d’Ivoire ending it in 1988 with Perils fa football club of Malaya.

In between, Keshi has compete for such huge clubs as Anderlecht, Lokeren of European nation as well as FC strasbourg of France.

His pioneering effort served as the elixir for many other Nigerian footballers who played professional football ouside the country.

Unfortunately, writer Keshi, aged 54, died of attack in benin town in 2016. Nigerian soccer can always remember his contribution to the country soccer development and per se, his home regime, Delta, immortalized with the “Stephen Keshi Stadium” Asaba, Delta State.

Vincent Enyeama

Many bear in mind Enyeama for his obedient service to {nigeria|Nigeria|Federal Republic of Nigeria|African country|African nation} and his ever good saves to deny Lionel Messi a goal against Nigeria at 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Vincent Enyeama holds the joint record with Joseph yobo as the most capped player for the Super Eagles in a global career spanning 13 years.

The former Enyimba and Iwuanyanwu Nationale goalkeeper was a second choice goalkeeper to President Shorunmu at the 2002 tournament in Korea/Japan. He before long became Nigeria’s top selection goalie when Shorunmu left the stage.

Known for his intense nimbleness, awareness and confidence in goal, Enyeama is remembered to possess saved 3 penalty gunfight against Tunisia at the 2010 AFCON quarter-final. He was named the man of the match on many occasions. Notably was his incredible show against Argentina at the 2010 FIFA tournament in south africa. He was named man of the match despite the Eagles 1-0 loss to the Albiceleste.

The Nigerian shot-stopper was in goal for Super Eagles third place finished at the 2004, 2006, 2010 Africa Cup of states tournaments. He additionally captained Nigeria to finish at the 2013 AFCON.

Vincent Enyeama sterling career saw him win four league title; (3 in Nigeria, one in Isreal), 2 Champions league triumph with Enyimba (2003, 2004). Notable amongst his individual awards was the 2004 CAF Champions League player of the year, 2009 Israel League player of the year and also the Nigerian Pitch Award in 2013 and 2014.

He is undisputedly the best Goalkeeper to possess ever played for Nigeria and would be rated on top of the heroics of Peter Rufai.

The “Mathematical” Segun Odegbami

Nicknamed “Mathematical” by the sports radio comment icon, Ernest Okonkwo. Segun Odegbami is one in all the best and most good players to possess ever played for Nigeria. He began his football career at 3SC Shooting Stars shortly when graduating as an Engineer from the polytechnic institute, Ibadan.

He before long rose to prominence with the Ibadan based mostly club when winning the Africa Winner’s Cup title in 1976. His very good skills, speed and pass exactitude created “mathematical Odegbami” a unit nickname very talked-about with Nigerians in the 70’s up to the first ’80s.

Young Odegbami at 24, created his initial National senior team debut with the green Eagles against sierra leone in 1976 when that he was enlisted by coach Otto Gloria aboard Christian Chukwu, Adokie Amasieamka, Muda Lawal, Felix Owolabi amongst others for the 1980 African Cup of nations.

Odegbami light-emitting diode African nation to their initial African Cup of states triumph in 1980 by rating a brace at the ultimate game against algeria, once the then inexperienced Eagles won with associate emphatic 3-nil at the 85,000 capability National stadium, Surulere Lagos.

Upon his retirement in october 1982, Odegbami feature 42 times with the green Eagles, rating 23 goals. A record that created him Nigeria’s second highest goals scorer of all time behind Rashidi Yekini.

Austin Jay-Jay Okocha

Jay-Jay Okocha is maybe the most practiced African player in football history and rated by the legendary Pele mutually of the top five most skillful in the world.

Okocha wasn’t simply a footballer; he was an entertainer on the sphere of play. His dazzling show on the pitch was as good because it was a sight to lay eyes on. speak his dribbles, passes, skills and audacious show with the ball, Okocha’s name can perpetually be known as amongst soccer legend who has given life to the round leather game.

Born in Enugu, the 19-year-old young Okocha came into limelight that includes for the U-23 National Team coached by James Peters in 1992.

Okocha joined Eintracht Frankfurt on the Main in December 1991, wherever he joined up with many well-known players as well as Ghanaian international striker Tony Yeboah and later Thomas Doll. He continued to shine for the German aspect, one highlight being a goal he scored against Karlsruher SC, dribbling in the bench and slotting the ball past goalkeeper architect even going past some players double. The goal was voted Goal of the Season by several football magazines, and additionally voted as 1993 Goal of the Year by viewers of Sportschau (an ARD German TV sports programme)

He later gained prominence within the Super Eagles and was in the AFCON 1994 winning squad.

He was in USA ’94 world cup and later became a key member of Nigeria’s gold-winning dream team at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atalanta, USA.

Before his retirement in 2006, Okocha compete for Paris Saint Germain in a £14m move that created him the most dear African Player at that point. the previous Bolton Wanderers playmaker represented Nigerian in five African Nations Cup tournament and 3 editions of the FIFA world cup. He featured 73 times for the Super Eagles and scored 14 nice goals, creating him the seventh most capped player within the National team.

Okocha, who was the sole Nigerian named in Pele’s prime a hundred living soccer legend would probably became Nigeria’s greatest player if he had won a lot of individual awards, national and club titles like his counterpart in Kanu Nwankwo.

Rashidi Yekini

Born simply 3 years when independence, ‘Goal father’ Rashidi Yekini is unarguably Nigeria’s best striker ever. Yekini moved from his teenaged enjoying days in Kaduna to become a unit name within the country and reigned with the Ibadan based mostly Shooting Stars within the ’80s.

Yekini delivered Nigeria her second African Cup of states in 1994 lifting the Eagles to its second continental cup with his rocket like powered goals and was the tournament’s highest goal scorer and also the most beneficial player. within the same year, Yekini scored Nigeria’s initial goal at the FIFA world cup in a 3-0 win against Bulgaria at USA ‘94.

The Kaduna born striker’s biggest club effort came simply after he left Africa Sports of cote de’ Ivoire to Vitória metropolis in Portugal wherever he he scored over 90 goals in 114 appearances.

Yekini until nowadays still holds the record as Nigeria’s most potent striker, rating 37 goals in 58 appearances.

The former Shooting Stars striker featured in 2 FIFA World Cups (1994, 1998) and was named Africa footballer of the year in 1993 for his exploits in Vitória metropolis and brilliance at the Nations Cup qualifiers.

Many square measure of the opinion that Yekini, who died in might 2012 when suffering depression, was Nigeria’s greatest player ever lived until date.

Kanu Nwankwo

Nicknamed “Papilo” Kanu is perhaps the best Nigerian footballer in history. Kanu became a unit name in his exploit at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He scored a brace to confirm team Nigeria defeated Brazil 4-3 to qualify for the Olympic final then went ahead to clinch the trophy.

Kanu, alongside Finidi George in 1994, became the first Nigerian players to win the UEFA Champions League as his club ajax defeated AC milan 1-0 in the final.

Shortly when his gold-winning Olympic tournament in 1996, Kanu signed for inter milan and was later named the African player of the Year that year.

Kanu suffered a defective heart drawback and left San Siro to Arsenal in 1999 when a corrective surgery.

The move evidenced a turning purpose in his careers as he went ahead to play 147 games and netted 44 times for the Gunners.

While at Arsenal, Kanu won his second African player of the Year award in 1999, the fa Cup in 2003 and was a part of the Arsenal unbeatable who went 49 games undefeated to say the Premier League in 2004.

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