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Best Nigerian football players of all time



Football has long been appreciated as a global sport that brings people together. And it’s no different in Nigeria. This African country has long been united around this sport and its many successful players. Football is so popular that you can almost always find a few Nigerian games in-play on

All the more, Nigeria is currently thought of as the best football nation in Africa — a title that would not be possible without a range of great players. For that reason, we’ve decided to celebrate the best football players from Nigeria in this article. If you want to learn more about them, read on.

Austin Jay-Jay Okocha

Austin Okocha, better known as Jay-Jay, is a former Nigerian footballer known for his mesmerising skills. During his active years, he played as an attacking midfielder. Okocha played for the Nigerian national football team 73 times between 1993 and 2006, scoring 14 goals.

His behaviour on the field was always surprising and creative. Every fan and player looked at Okocha’s technique and dribbling skills with awe. Some even say that Ronaldinho learned from Okacha while they played together at PSG.

Okocha was also a member of three FIFA World Cup squads, but he never managed to win Africa’s best player award, sparking many controversies among football experts.

Rashidi Yekini

Rashidi Yekini was one of the most successful Nigerian football players. He played for the Nigerian national football team for more than two decades, scoring 37 goals and setting the record as the top goal-scorer in his nation.

Many say his long legs made him the goal-scorer he was, allowing him to score goals that most other players wouldn’t. For most of his career, he played for Vitória de Setúbal, a Portuguese team. Besides Nigeria, he also played football for teams in six other countries.

He won the African Footballer of the Year award in 1993. Yekini passed away in 2012 after a long illness.

Sunday Oliseh

Another talented midfielder that made headlines during his active years is Sunday Oliseh. Most footballers admired him for his shot power. Oliseh played for the Nigerian national team from 1993 to 2002, making 54 appearances and two goals. Although his goal record is not the highest, he is still remembered for the deciding goal in the group stage match against Spain during the 1998 World Cup.

He also played for some of the top European football teams, like Juventus and Ajax, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Oliseh started his coaching and managerial career in 2008, two years after retiring.

Vincent Enyeama

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the greatest Nigerian goalkeepers of all time — Vincent Enyeama. Many experts claim that Enyeama was the personification of consistency during his time playing for the national team. He played for the national team from 2002 to 2015, serving as the team’s captain for the last two years.

Enyeama was Nigeria’s most capped player with 101 caps until November 2021, when Ahmed Musa surpassed him. He spent his career playing in Nigeria, Israel, and France. Enyeama retired in 2015.

Finidi George

Regarded as one of the greatest football players in Nigeria’s history, Finidi George played as a right-winger. Interestingly, George first made a name for himself playing for Ajax and winning the 1995 Champions League title.

Besides that achievement, George also served as a leading figure in winning seven other major titles for Ajax. He also played for several other European teams before retiring in 2004.

George was also a key player for the Nigerian national team during the 1990s, appearing in two World Cups and scoring the winning goal against Greece in 1994. He currently coaches Enyimba F.C., a Nigerian club.

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