Top 10 Nigerian football players of all time

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time (Evergreen)

Here’s a look at the list of the top 10 Nigerian football players of all time

Nigeria is viewed as the Giant of Africa and this moniker remains constant in numerous viewpoints, ranging from the music and film businesses, food, culture, economy, and etc. 

The country is home to more than two hundred million soccer insane fans and the energy has converted into progress on the field, with the Nigerian National Team hands down truly outstanding on the African continent. 

With the 3 Nations Cup victories, Nigeria is one of the most successful in the historical backdrop of the Africa Cup of Nations, while they have likewise qualified for the World Cup 6 times.

Since the beginning, the West African country has delivered the absolute best footballers to have at any point graced a football field and a large portion of the list can hold their own anyplace on the planet. 

In this article, we will provide you with the top 10 Nigerian football players ever, figuring their achievements to the national side and their general effect on the sport.

Here’s a look at the list of the top 10 Nigerian football players of all time

10 – Stephen Keshi

  • Name in home country: Stephen Okechukwu Keshi
  • Date of birth: Jan 23, 1962
  • Place of birth: Lagos Nigeria
  • Date of death: 08.06.2016 (54)
  • Height: 1.85 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Defender – Centre-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Stephen Keshi followed in the strides of his coach Christian Chukwu by winning the Nations Cup 14 years after he did as such in 1980. 

Like his idol, Stephen Keshi additionally played as a center back and was nicknamed The Big Boss a direct result of his authority and leadership capacities. 

In the wake of leaving a mark on the world by qualifying unfancied Togo for the 2006 World Cup, Keshi was in this manner employed as the Nigerian manager in 2011 and he turned into the main man to win the Nations Cup as skipper and head coach.

He additionally managed Nigeria to the second round of the 2014 World Cup after sixteen years since 1998. Tragically, he passed on in 2016 at 54 years of age due to a heart attack.

9- Uche Okechukwu

  • Full name: Uche Alozie Okechukwu Santos Emanuel
  • Date of birth: Sep 27, 1967
  • Place of birth: Lagos Nigeria
  • Age: 52
  • Height: 1,87 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Defender – Centre-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

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In the wake of Keshi’s retirement, the captaincy was given to Okechukwu, who assumed the liability with a minimal whine.

In the same way as others on this rundown, he won a gold medal in 1996 and was additionally selected for the squad that lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994. 

The defender played roughly as an unfancied Brondby arrived at the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1991, while he likewise won the Danish League title on two events. 

Most part of his football career, however, was gone through in Turkey with Fenerbahce. He supported the club to win the Turkish League two different times in 1996 and 2001.

In 1996, Okechukwu was in the main XI the night that Fenerbahce finished Man United’s 40-year undefeated European home record at Old Trafford.

8- Sunday Oliseh

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Name in home country: Sunday Ogochukwu Oliseh
  • Date of birth: Sep 14, 1974
  • Place of birth: Abavo Nigeria
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 1,83 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder – Defensive Midfield
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Sunday Oliseh played as a deep midfielder in his prime and had the strength and quality needed to exceed expectations in his spot, while likewise having the ability and range of skill that saw him routinely add to assaults. 

He played for some prestigious clubs like Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, and Juventus, lifting various significant trophies, including the UEFA Cup, Bundesliga, and Eredivisie.

On the international level, Sunday Oliseh was a member of the Olympic Gold winning side in Atlanta 1996, just as the Nations Cup in 1994, while he likewise showed up at two World Cups in 1994 and 1998, with his stunning strike in the 3-2 triumph over Spain positioning as probably one of the best moments in World Cup ever. 

Altogether, the footballer played for Nigeria 54 times, netting two goals and Oliseh rose through the positions to turn into the team skipper. 

7- Taribo West

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Date of birth: Mar 26, 1974
  • Place of birth: Lagos Nigeria
  • Age: 46
  • Height: 1.86 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Defender – Left-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

A player famous for his numerous crazy hairstyles West was a member of the 1996 gold-winning Nigeria team in Atalanta. West likewise included unmistakably at the World Cups in 1998 and 2002.

His effect on Nigerian football is huge to the point that in his country there is a club named Taribo West FC. In 1993, arriving in France with Auxerre, West proceeded to play for AC Milan and Internazionale, before joining the Premier League for what might end up being to a great extent forgettable short spell with Derby County. 

West would later proceed to play for a large group of different teams around the world before ending up on his career in 2008. 

6- John Obi Mikel

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Name in home country: John Michael Nchekwube Obinna
  • Date of birth: Apr 22, 1987
  • Place of birth: Jos Nigeria
  • Age: 33
  • Height: 1,88 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder – Defensive Midfield
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Without Club

High expectations were normal from John Obi Mikel after his featuring in helping Nigeria to a runner-up finish at the 2005 World Youth Championship in the Netherlands and for his displays, he was named as the second-best footballer of the competition behind Lionel Messi. 

Many argued that Mikel had a superior competition than the Argentine superstar and it was emblematic that they were similar at the age level yet that was the place it finished, as Messi proceeded to get the place to be one of the unrivaled legends, Mikel still had a career that didn’t exactly coordinate desires.

This is not the slightest bit to recommend that his performance was below standard, a long way from that, as he was a necessary part of the dominant Chelsea sides that crowned English soccer. 

He finished his Chelsea stint by winning all the significant titles involving the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, and Premier League while he was likewise influential in Nigeria’s championship at the 2013 AFCON. The midfielder likewise captained Nigeria to a bronze award at the 2016 Olympic Matches and dominated silver in 2008. 

Mikel’s transformation from attacking midfielder to a deep midfielder tellingly affected his national football career, as he didn’t transform into the footballer many wished yet he showed up for the Super Eagles 89 times before his retirement after the 2019 AFCON.

5- Vincent Enyeama

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Date of birth: Aug 29, 1982
  • Place of birth: Kaduna Nigeria
  • Age: 37
  • Height: 1,82 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Foot: left
  • Player agent: not clarified
  • Current club: Without Club

He was the best goalkeeper of the Enyimba team that won back-to-back CAF Champions League trophies in 2003 and 2004 and from that point proceeded to play for teams like Lille, Maccabi Tel Aviv, and Hapoel Tel Aviv. 

He made his first national team appearance at the 2002 World Cup against England and amazed everybody by unbelievable saves to defend against an offensive force that included great players like Emile Heskey, David Beckham, and Michael Owen. 

He proceeded to play for the national team 101 times and had an important role at the 2010 World Cup, displaying awesome saves that saw him shut out Lionel Messi and named the greatest player of matchday 1 and 2. 

The goalkeeper was in line for the Nigerian team that won the 2013 AFCON and was named into the team of the competition.

4- Joseph Yobo

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Name in home country: Joseph Michael Yobo
  • Date of birth: Sep 6, 1980
  • Place of birth: Kono Nigeria
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 1,88 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Defender – Centre-Back
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Joseph Yobo made a name for himself with his performances for Nigeria under-20 team that ended up in the World Cup at home in 1999 and after two years, he caused the progression to the national side. 

Yobo close by Vincent Enyeama is the two joint-most capped footballers ever for Nigeria with 101 appearances. Yobo played for his country at 3 World Cups and six African Cup of Nations, captaining Nigeria to the 2013 success in South Africa. 

Yobo’s club career was likewise absolutely fruitful and he went through 10 years at Goodison Park where he was a regular player and was one of just 7 footballers to play each and every minute of the 2006/2007 Premier League campaign.

For a long time, Yobo was the foreigner with the highest number of games played in the historical backdrop of Everton until he was surpassed in 2012. He started his football as a right-back yet was continuously moved into the center point of the defensive line later on and bowed out from national soccer since Nigeria’s ouster from the 2014 World Cup. 

3- Rashidi Yekini

Top 10 Nigerian Football Players Of All Time
  • Name in home country: Rashidi Yekini
  • Date of birth: Oct 23, 1963
  • Place of birth: Kaduna  Nigeria
  • Date of death: 04.05.2012 (48)
  • Height: 1,90 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Forward – Centre-Forward
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Rashidi Yekini was a great scorer of amazing magnitude in his career, remains the greatest goalscorer throughout the entire existence of the Nigerian National side. 

Yekini started his football in the Nigerian scene where he played for teams like UNTL Kaduna, Shooting Stars, and Abiola Babes ahead of making the move to another country Ivory Coast to join Africa Sports. From that point, Yekini went on to Portugal and joined Vitoria Setubal where he by and by demonstrated his scoring abilities, completing as the Primeira Liga’s greatest scorer in 1994 with 21, after his best campaign where he netted 34 goals from only 32 games to enable the club to accomplish promotion. 

In 1993, for his displays with Setubal, he turned into the only Nigerian to be named African player of the year, and he proceeded by supporting the nation to meet all requirements for a World Cup appearance in 1994 for the first time. 

There were more firsts for him in the USA and he netted the maidan goal by the nation at the Mundial, with his displays of satisfaction by taking hold of the net in celebration against Bulgaria one of the most characterizing pictures of the 1994 World Cup. 

He was a member of the Nigerian national team at the 1998 World Cup yet couldn’t coordinate his grand statures from the earlier year. Altogether, he played for Nigeria 58times and netted 37 goals and he enjoyed accomplishment at the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations where he completed as the golden boot lifter and was likewise named the greatest player of the competition. 

Unfortunately, he passed on in May 2012, at 48 years of age.

2- Jay-Jay Okocha

 Jay jay - One of the top 10 Nigerian Football Player till date
  • Name in home country: Augustine Azuka Okocha
  • Date of birth: Aug 14, 1973
  • Place of birth: Enugu Nigeria
  • Age: 46
  • Height:  1.73 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Midfielder – Attacking Midfield
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

In terms of dribbling skills, there hasn’t been a more effective African soccer player in history.

Jay Jay had an amazing skill in luring in a defender, ahead of beating them with a feint and trick.

The 2005 African footballer of the year was considered as the most gifted player to come out from Africa as well as to be sure one of the most capable players throughout the entire existence of football. 

In the wake of featuring in Nigeria with Enugu Rangers, Okocha went on to Germany and it was with Eintracht Frankfurt that he rose to worldwide noticeable quality, with a goal where he dribbled over the whole Kalsruhe defensive line before dribbling German incredible Oliver Kahn twice being one of his most characterizing legacies. 

The goal was named as the goal of the campaign and a standout amongst other individual goals ever and after a more spell in Turkey with Fenerbache, Okocha was purchased by French team PSG for a contract of £14 million out of 1998 which at that time was the most costly expense paid for an African footballer. 

In spite of the fact that the Parisians were a long way from the superpowers they are at this moment, Okocha’s time in Paris was genuinely astounding, and all the more critically, he guided a youthful Ronaldinho a lot, with the player assuming an important role in the advancement of the Brazilian’s range of abilities. 

Jay Jay Okocha featured for Bolton Wanderers and helped the club achieve unheard-of statures and turned into a favorite loved all the while in England, with T-Shirts recorded with the phrase: “Jay-Jay – so great they named him twice” imprinted in his respect.

The player played his first game for Nigeria in 1993, netting from a great free-kick in his second game against Algeria that demonstrated essential to qualification for the 1994 World Cup and he finished his career with 73 games and 14 goals.

1- Nwankwo Kanu

Kanu Nwankwo - One of the top 10 Nigerian Footballer Of All Time
  • Name in home country: Nwankwo Christian Nwosu Kanu
  • Date of birth: Aug 1, 1976
  • Place of birth: Owerri Nigeria
  • Age: 43
  • Height: 1,97 m
  • Citizenship: Nigeria
  • Position: Forward – Centre-Forward
  • Foot: right
  • Current club: Retired

Nigeria’s most decorated soccer player in the early days of his career won 3 Eredivisie championships and the UEFA Champions League with Ajax, before going on to win the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan.

Nwankwo Kanu featured for the absolute greatest and most prestigious clubs on the planet including Ajax, Inter Milan, and Arsenal, and won plenty of significant honors including the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, and Premier League. 

Kanu’s time at Highbury was portrayed by various significant displays from the bench and he won two PL championships, including the popular Invincible campaign in 2003-04. 

Kanu proceeded to play for Portsmouth and indeed displayed his unbelievable skills, netting the goals in the semi-final and final to win the 2007 FA Cup. 

There were genuine apprehensions that Kanu’s football would have finished before it truly started as he was determined to have a severe heart ailment.

Kanu’s displays for the National side started when he captained Nigeria to triumph at the 1993 Under 17 World Cup, an accomplishment he repeated 3 years after the fact at the Olympic Games, and his exhibition, especially in the domination against Brazil, saw him being named the African player of the year in 1996.

He repeated lifting the African player of the year award in 1999.

Kanu played 87 games for Nigeria netting 12 goals.

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