Nigeria also called the “Giants Of Africa” is one of the top competitive sporting nations in Africa. As per Football, it’s is undoubtedly the most loved and watched sport in the country.
Nigeria is currently valued as the third best footballing nation in Africa and have been blessed with some great talents who have performed on big platforms all over the world.
Below are ten of Nigeria’s greatest talents of all time.
10. Vincent Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama is a Nigerian professional goalkeeper who have been a member of the Nigerian national team since 2002, before retiring from international football in 2015 he was the national team’s captain taking the band from 2013. He is the most capped Nigerian player with 101 caps. The Nigerian Legend started playing for a club from Enyimba International FC and ended playing at French Ligue 1 club Lille. He is currently a free agent.
9. Segun Odegbami
Olusegun Odegbami is a retired Nigerian forward who was capped 46 times. During his time in the Nigerian national team, he scored 23 goals and guided Nigeria to its first AFCON Title in 1980 which was hosted by Nigeria. He was famous and known for his skills on the ball, speed and accurate crosses. He played for IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan his entire career where he won three Nigerian Premier League titles.
8. Sunday Oliseh
Sunday Oliseh is a former player of the Nigerian national team who played as a midfielder during his active career. He was a physical and technical gifted defensive midfielder and he featured for world famous clubs like Ajax Amsterdam, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. He retired from football at the age of 31 and took up his first coaching role at Vervietois in 2008.
7. Stephen Keshi
Stephen Keshi was a Nigerian defender and manager. He earned 60 caps for the Nigerian national team making the nation’s second most capped player at his retirement. As a manager, he achieved success by qualifying Togo for their one and only FIFA World Cup appearance in its history in 2006 before coaching Nigeria in 2011 and leading them to an AFCON triumph in 2013. Stephen Keshi is the first African Coach to qualify two different African Countries for the FIFA World Cup (Togo & Nigeria).
6. Taribo West
Taribo West is a former professional Nigerian defender who is best remembered for his various usual and colourful hairstyle. He was capped 42 times for his nation’s national team and he featured for European giants like Inter Milan and AC Milan at club level. He was a member of the Olympic squad that won a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympic games.
5. Finidi George
Finidi George is a retired Nigerian right winger who featured 62 times in the Nigerian Jersey. At Club level, he made his name at Ajax Amsterdam being a leading figure in the team that won eight major trophies including the 1995 Champions League before playing several years in Spain with Real Betis and also having a brief spell in England before retiring.
4. Uche Okechukwu
Uche Okechukwu is a retired central defender who played for the Nigerian national team. At club level, 13 years of active career was at Turkey where he was honoured with Turkish Citizenship under the name Deniz Uygan. He was capped 50 times for Nigeria winning the AFCON in 1994 and a gold medal in the Summer Olympic games in 1996.
3. Rashidi Yekini
Rashidi Yekini was a Nigerian striker and a former player of Vitoria de Setubal in Portugal where he experienced his most memorable years, eventually becoming the Primiera Liga’s golden boot in 1993-94 season with 21 goals. Yekini scored 37 goals in 58 appearances for the Nigerian national team representing the nation in five major tournaments, including two FIFA world cup where he netted the country’s first ever goal in the competition. In 1993, Rashidi Yekini was named the African Footballer Of The Year.
2. Jay Jay Okocha
Austin Okocha is a former Nigerian professional footballer who played the role of an attacking midfielder and earned 73 caps for the Nigerian national team. He won the 1994 AFCON title and 1996 Summer Olympic games with the Nigerian national team. He played for different club including Paris Saint Germain who signed him in 1998 to make him the most expensive African players at that time. Okocha also won the inaugural BBC African Footballer Of The Year Award and retired at the age of 34.
1. Nwankwo Kanu
Kanu Nwankwo is a Nigerian former professional attacker who played for the Nigerian national team. He earned 87 caps for his nation and played for clubs like Iwuanyanwu Nationale in Nigeria, Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan Of Italy and English clubs Arsenal, West Brom Albion and Portsmouth. Kanu won a UEFA champions league medal, a UEFA Cup Medal, Three FA Cups and Two African player of the year awards amongst others. The Nigerian Legend is regarded as one of the best players in African Football history. Kanu Nwankwo was voted by Arsenal as their 13th greatest player of all time.
Few other all time greatest Nigerian players are as follows: