15 Best Nigerian Footballers Ever

Who is the greatest Nigerian footballer of all time?

Besides Ghana, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast; Nigeria is also known as one of the strongest football countries in Africa. The national team of this country created some surprises in World Cup tournaments and three times won the African Nations Cup. The best generation of Nigerian soccer team was born in the mid 1990s, where the team was reinforced by some of the best players such as Nwankwo Kanu, Taribo West, Jay-Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, and many more.

In this article, I created a list of 15 best Nigerian footballers from time to time. Not only possessing dazzling individual skills, they also claimed a lot of prestigious titles at club and national team level. So, which one do you think deserves to be called as the greatest?

15. Taribo West

Taribo West is a former defender who played for Nigeria in the period 1994-2002. In addition to his great strength, West also attracted a lot of attention because of his eccentric and colorful hairstyles. He played for various European clubs, such as Auxerre, Inter Milan, Derby County, and Kaiserslautern. His best achievement was helping the Nigerian national team win the 1996 Olympics.

14. Shola Ameobi

Shola Ameobi is a striker who spent his career for more than a decade at Newcastle United. He formed duet with some world-class strikers, such as Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, and Andy Carroll. Before he officially he joined the national team of Nigeria, Ameobi had played for England U-23 for three years. The best achievement ever achieved by Ameobi at club level is winning the Intertoto Cup in 2006.

13. Victor Moses

Just like Ameobi, Victor Moses started his career as a professional footballer in England. He is known as a strong and versatile player who is able to play in various positions. His brilliant performances and his young age make Moses is predicted to be one of the future stars that will shine in the world of football. So far, his best achievement was winning the 2013 African Nations Cup with the national team of Nigeria.

12. Emmanuel Emenike

Emmanuel Emenike started to get the attention from the football pundits when he was playing for a Turkish league club, Karab├╝kspor. Three months after playing for the club, precisely in October 2009, Emenike scored his first hat trick in the European League. His forms continued to climb and he was later recruited by a Turkish League giant, Fenerbahce. He also gave an enormous contribution to the Nigeria national football team in the African Cup in 2013, where Emenike helped his team to victory and at the same time became the top scorer of the tournament.

11. Yakubu Aiyegbeni

Strong, fast, and tough. His big and tall body as well as enormous speed made Yakubu was dubbed as "The Yak." He spent most of his professional career in the Premier League, playing for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton and Blackburn Rovers. Previously, he joined an Israeli League club, Maccabi Haifa. During his career at Nigeria national team in the period 2000-2012, Yakubu scored 21 goals in 57 appearances.

10. Segun Odegbami

Segun Odegbami is a former striker who played for the Green Eagles team (the nickname of Nigeria national team) in the period 1976-1982. He was nicknamed the "Mathematical" because of his calculating and intelligent playing styles. Not only that, the nickname was also obtained because Odegbami successfully completed education at a technical university in his country. He played a major role in leading his country claim their first African Nations Cup title in 1980.

9. Obafemi Martins

Fast, strong, and agile. Obafemi Martins was predicted to be one of the young players who could be a big star in the world of football. Unfortunately as he was often hit by injuries, his performances became inconsistent. Martins won many titles during his period at Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Birmingham City, and Rubin Kazan; among them are: one Serie A title, two Coppa Italias, an Intertoto Cup trophy, an English League Cup and a Russian Cup.

8. Finidi George

Playing as a right-winger, Finidi George was one of the key players of Ajax Amsterdam in the mid-1990s. The midfielder helped his team win a lot of titles, both at domestic and international level. During his career at Ajax, George presented three Eredivisie titles, a Champions League trophy, and one European Super Cup. He also led his country win the 1994 African Nations Cup.

7. Daniel Amokachi

Playing as a striker, Amokachi has the typical characteristics of the African footballer: physically strong, fast, and possessing powerful shot. He played for several European clubs, such as Club Brugge, Everton, and Besiktas. Not only that, Amokachi also presented a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics for his country, scoring one goal in the final match against Argentina. He ended his career as a professional footballer in 2005 with a Nigerian club, Nasarawa United.

6. Rashidi Yekini

With a total of 37 goals that he scored in the period of 1984-1998, Rashidi Yekini holds the record for as the top scorer of Nigeria national football team. His best career occurred in the period 1993-1994, where Yekini managed to become the top scorer of the Portuguese league with 34 goals from 32 appearances. He was also selected as the best African footballer in the same year. Not only that, Yekini also created a history by becoming the first Nigerian footballer who scored a goal in the World Cup tournament.

5. Joseph Yobo

Until now, Joseph Yobo still holds the record as the player with the highest number of appearances for the Nigeria national team. Playing as a central defender, Yobo started his career as a professional footballer at Standard Liege in 1998. He also had played for Marseille before joining Everton, where he spent nine years of his career with the club. After the retirement of Nwankwo Kanu, Yobo is trusted to be the captain of Nigeria national football team due to his remarkable leadership skills.

4. Vincent Enyeama

Vincent Enyeama's outstanding performances at club and national team level make him earn a reputation as one of the best African goalkeepers of all time. His performances started to steal the attention of the public when he joined for Hapoel Tel-Aviv in 2007. He gained more fame since joining Lille in 2011. At club level, Enyeama won two Israeli League titles and once was selected as the best player of the competition. He also serves as the number one Nigerian national team goalkeeper and led his country win the African Nations Cup 2013.

3. Jay-Jay Okocha

Jay-Jay Okocha once was known as a midfielder who possessed high technique. He had exceptional dribbling skills, accurate long-range shot, physically strong, and often scored beautiful goals. He also once held a record as the most expensive African player in the world when he was signed by Paris Saint-Germain from Fenerbahce in 1998 with a transfer fee of 24 million USD. Together with the Nigerian national team, Okocha won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 and the African Cup trophy in 1994.

2. John Obi Mikel

Joining Chelsea in 2006, Mikel becomes Chelsea's central midfield mainstay for many years. He played alongside world-class players such as Frank Lampard, Ramires, Juan Mata, and much more. Mikel is known as an anchor midfielder with the ability to attack and defend equally well. So far, he has won one Champions League trophy, a UEFA Europa League trophy, a Premier League title and four FA Cups. Mikel was also twice elected as African Young Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

1. Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu is one of the best African strikers of all time. He possessed strong, tall body, dazzling technique, and often scored important goals for his teams. During his career at Arsenal in the period 1999-2004, he was known as a super-sub who helped his team win five major trophies. Previously, he was part of a golden generation of Ajax Amsterdam who won three Eredivisie titles and one Champions League trophy. Not only that, Kanu also helped his country win the 1996 Olympics and twice elected as the African Footballer of the Year in 1996 and 1999.

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