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Which Nigerian footballer is the most popular ?

By Guardian Nigeria
04 April 2023   |   1:00 am
Nigeria is home to some of the best soccer talents on the continent and in the global stage. But when it comes to gauging the popularity of a player, many factors are at play.

Taribo West and Austin Jay Jay Okocha thrilled Nigerian fans at the National Stadium, Lagos for over a decade

Nigeria is home to some of the best soccer talents on the continent and in the global stage. But when it comes to gauging the popularity of a player, many factors are at play. The West African country is never short of world class players, tens of whom ply their trade in the top European leagues. So, from our football betting tips today, active Nigerian players are worth considering in the goal-scorer market.

We review a list of the most popular football players from Nigeria in this post and the following are our best picks:

Jay-Jay Okocha

Jay-Jay Okocha is a former Nigeria soccer star from the golden generation. In his quest for greatness, Okocha was a freestyler on the pitch, having fun while he was at it. He may not be the most capped Nigerian player but Jay-Jay remains a dominant name in football circles. From the time he made his debut for the Super Eagles, scoring a total of 15 goals in 75 Caps, the former PSG player isn’t leaving any football conversation soon. Okocha remains active in the football world as a pundit.

Daniel Amokachi

Moreover, in the golden generation of players who raised the bar high for Nigerian players, Daniel Amokachi is another player whose exploits in the football world made him one of the most prolific forwards to have graced the field for the Super Eagles. Amokachi played for several European clubs, with most of his time spent in Belgium. He won the 1994 AFCON, the FA Cup with Everton in 1995, an Olympic Medal in 1996, and a Turkish Cup with Besiktas in 1990 and 1991. And according to Premier League on its official website, players like John-Obi Mikel or Yakubu are worth mentioning at a time when Nigeria gained traction in world football.
Daniel Amokachi was also a two-time winner of the Belgian Championship Cup and 5-time Belgian Super Cup winner, including the Belgian Cup as a player for Club Brugge.

Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu is indisputably one of Nigeria’s most popular footballers, with an impressive track record to back up his fame. Born on August 1, 1976, in Owerri, Nigeria, Kanu began his professional career with the Nigerian club Iwuanyanwu Nationale before making a name for himself on the international stage. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches, Kanu’s towering presence and technical skills made him a formidable striker. His outstanding performances at clubs like Ajax Amsterdam, Inter Milan, and Arsenal earned him numerous accolades, including two African Player of the Year awards in 1996 and 1999.

As a key figure in the Nigerian national team, Kanu contributed to the team’s success by scoring 12 goals in 87 appearances. He also played an integral role in Nigeria’s gold medal victory at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, further solidifying his status as one of Nigeria’s football legends.

Taribo West

Taribo West is another Nigerian soccer player who is popular in the beautiful game and remains up there among the best of his generation. And even today, Taribo West is still an inspiration for aspiring defenders. The player’s biography has been translated into 28 languages.Taribo West was known for his defensive tackles and various colorful hairstyles that promoted his image around the world.

The most notable moment of West’s career was in the 1998 World Cup, a tournament in which Nigerian football shined in all its glory. Other important highlights of his career included a stint with Inter Milan and also city rivals, AC Milan. Taribo West had 42 Caps for his country in a period spanning over 10 years between 1994 and 2005. Notably, he also won a gold medal for his country in the 1996 Olympics.

Victor Osimhen

Some would say Napoli’s forward Victor Osimhen is way ahead of his time but that is debatable. Osimhen is currently the most popular Nigerian player. The player commands a large following in Nigeria and across Africa. After a record-breaking fee of 75 million euros, Osimhen is officially the most valued Nigerian player ever.

At only 24, Victor Osimhen has already broken records previously held by top guns in Nigeria’s football landscape. He has 15 goals in 23 appearances for his country. And two seasons after moving to Napoli in 2020, Victory Osimhen is poised for the golden boot in Italy’s Serie A.

Rashidi Yekini

Rashidi Yekini is regarded as one of the most famous Nigerian soccer players. In a career that spanned over two decades, Yekini remains the leading scorer for his country with 37 goals. He mostly plied his trade in Portugal as a forward for Vitoria Setubal. The player featured for Nigeria in two FIFA World Cups, scoring the first-ever goal for the Super Eagles on the world’s biggest football stage. Yekini was christened with the African Footballer of the Year award in 1993.