Nigeria’s Top 10 Football Players of All Time, Who are they? Continue reading my blog post and you will get my 10 favourites with an accompanying justification as to who are actually Nigeria’s Top 10 Football Players of All Time.
Over the years, Nigeria has been blessed with an abundant wealth of talent in football. As a lifelong fan, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing these athletes shape the trajectory of Nigerian football and make their mark on the global stage.
It’s no small feat to narrow down a list of top 10 Nigerian footballers of all time, but I have tried my best to compile a list that not only takes into account the players’ skill and flair but also their impact on the sport.
1. Nwankwo Kanu
No list would be complete without mentioning Nwankwo Kanu. A two-time African Footballer of the Year, Kanu’s technical skills and vision set him apart. With an illustrious career spanning Ajax, Inter Milan, and Arsenal, Kanu won numerous domestic titles and the UEFA Champions League. His passion and fighting spirit were palpable, best encapsulated when he led Nigeria to win the 1996 Olympic Gold medal.
2. Jay-Jay Okocha
Known for his dribbling skills, speed, and creativity, Okocha was the embodiment of the ‘Beautiful Game.’ He was the kind of player that left you in awe of his audacious skills and innovative play. Named twice as the African Footballer of the Year, Okocha’s influence extended beyond Africa with successful spells at Paris Saint-Germain and Bolton Wanderers.
3. Rashidi Yekini
The late Rashidi Yekini was a prolific striker, forever etched in our hearts for his raw emotion after scoring Nigeria’s first-ever World Cup goal in 1994. His immense scoring record for Nigeria – 37 goals in 58 appearances – remains unbeaten.
His strength and accuracy in front of the goal were second to none, earning him the title of African Footballer of the Year in 1993. Rashidi Yekini is also a legend at Portuguese side Vitória Setúbal, where he scored a staggering 93 goals in 122 league games during his illustrious career.
4. Sunday Oliseh
The backbone of the Nigerian midfield in the ’90s, Sunday Oliseh was a strategic genius. Known for his tactical awareness and powerful long-range shots, his most memorable moment came when he scored the winning goal against Spain in the 1998 World Cup. Oliseh’s consistency and leadership made him a cornerstone of the Nigerian national team.
5. Vincent Enyeama
Enyeama is arguably the greatest goalkeeper Nigeria has ever produced. His agility, sharp reflexes, and leadership saw him garner over 100 caps for the national team. His exceptional performances in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, and a successful career with Lille in France, prove his worthiness on this list.
6. Segun Odegbami
‘Mathematical’ Odegbami was an integral part of the Nigerian team in the 70s and 80s. Known for his precise calculations, scoring prowess, and speed, he helped Nigeria secure their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980. His performances in the green and white are the stuff of legend.
7. Muda Lawal
A dynamic midfielder, Lawal was part of the golden generation of Nigerian football. His exceptional ball control and passing ability played a pivotal role in Nigeria’s successes in the late ’70s and early ’80s, including the 1980 AFCON victory.
8. Taribo West
Taribo West was a stalwart defender, famous for his tough tackles and aggressive style of play. West, with his unforgettable green-dyed hair, had a successful European career, playing for both Inter Milan and AC Milan, and his fearlessness on the pitch resonated with fans worldwide.
9. Stephen Keshi
A leader in every sense of the word, Stephen Keshi was the epitome of dedication. His tenure as a center back, and later as a coach, has shaped Nigerian football. Keshi, one of the only two men to win the AFCON as a player and coach, left an indelible mark on Nigerian and African football.
10. Obafemi Martins
Despite the intense competition, Obafemi Martins earns his spot for his sheer determination and impressive goal-scoring record. His speed and clinical finishing saw him have fruitful spells in Europe and the MLS. Martins’ famous somersault goal celebration is etched in the minds of football lovers.
To summarise, Nigeria’s top 10 football players of all time!
These remarkable footballers have not only contributed immensely to Nigerian football but have also put Nigeria on the global map and in my opinion they really deserve their place on the list of Nigeria’s top 10 football players of all time.
They have given us moments of joy, pride, and sheer admiration. Although the sport continues to evolve and new stars are born, these legends will forever have a special place in the heart of Nigerian football.