Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nigeria Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Nigeria's Gold medal at the 1996 Olympics
African Born
GhanaCameroonNigeriaSouth AfricaTunisia
AlgeriaMoroccoEgyptIvory CoastSenegal,
North Africa
The Rest of Africa(excluding Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and North Africa).

Nigeria first became prominence when they won the African Cup of Nations in 1980.  They reached the Final two more times in the 1980's.  Then, the national team made a great leap forward in 1990's.  The Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations in 1994 right before the WC Finals in the US.  The team consisted of Stephen Keshi, Jay-Jay Okocha, Emmanuel Amuneke, Daniel Amokachi and Rashidi Yekini.  They reached the 2nd round of the WC Finals before narrowly losing to Italy in the round of 16.  Two years later, Nigeria fielded a similar team that won the Gold medal at the Olympics, a achievement considered to be African football's finest moment.

Nigeria African Nations' Cup 2013

GK:  Peter Rufai 
Born in Lagos, Peter Rufai was the starting keeper for both World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998, where the Super Eagles made an impact.  He was the captain of the 1994 World Cup team. He was capped 62 times between 1983 and 1998.  In 1993, he scored a goal against Ethiopia during  a CAN qualifier. At the club level, he played in Nigeria, Benin, Belgium, Portugal and Spain. His longest stint was with Farense in Portugal. 
Vincent Enyeama earned over 100 caps for Nigeria.  He is Nigeria's most capped player. He played in three World Cup Finals (2002, 2010 and 2014).  He led the Super Eagles in winning the 2013 African Nations' Cup. For club football, he won two CAF Champions' League with Enyimba before making a move to Europe.  He first played in Israel and then, to Lille in France, where he played between 2011 and 2018.  He won Prix Marc-Vivien Foé.

Okala was a tall keeper.  He won the African Cup Winners' Cup with Enugu Rangers in 1978.  He was the first Nigerian to be named African Player of the Year by ASJU in 1978.   He won All African games gold medal in 1973. He was also in the team that won Nigeria’s first nations cup in 1980, but was a backup.  He played 59 times for Nigeria.

Moses began his career in the Championship with Crystal Palace. He made his Premier League debut with Wigan in 2010.   He then played for Chelsea between 2012 and 202, but with many loan spells with Liverpool, Stoke City West Ham, Fenerbahçe, Inter Milan and Spartak Moscow).  He had represented England at the youth level, but chose to play for Nigeria, where he played in both 2014 and 2018 World Cup Finals.

Tony Igwe was the first Nigerian to master the overlapping wingback position.  He helped to qualify Nigeria for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal though the country withdrew due to political reasons. He represented Nigeria at the 1968 Olympics. He moved to the USA to play college soccer for University of San Francisco in 1975.

At the time of his retirement, Stephen Keshi is the second highest cap record holder. He was one of the leaders of Nigeria World Cup team in 1994, where Nigeria reached the round of 16.  They also won the African Cup of Nations on the same year.  For domestic football, He also played club football in five countries. He played his best years in Belgium and France.   where he won the Belgian league championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1991.
Stephen Keshi 
Segun Olumodeji was born in 1945.  His nickname was "Olumu Rock". Some said that he was Nigeria's greatest defender.  He was a participant at the 1968 Olympics where he played in all three matches.  For his club career, he played for Stationery Stores F.C.  The first 11 of the Nigerian national team in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic football event had 9 Stationery Stores players.  He was strong in the air, but also a cultured defender.
Born in 1951, Christian Chukwu is considered one of Nigeria's greatest defender.  His nickname was "Chairman" due to his leadership on the field. He captained Nigeria's first ever African Cup of Nations win in 1980, beating Algeria in the Final.  The victory was a milestone for football in Nigeria. For his domestic career, he played for Enugu Rangers between 1972 and 1982 at home, where he was also the captain.

CB/LB: Taribo West
Taribo West represented the Nigerian national team in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups.  He was also a member of the Nigerian team that won the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He also played club football in five countries, most notably Belgium, where he won the Belgian league championship with R.S.C. Anderlecht in 1991. From 1993 to 1997, he played AJ Auxerre in France.  He spent two seasons with Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup in 1998.
Taribo West
Taiwo moved to Marseille in 2005, where he had a successful spell at the club, winning Ligue 1, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophée des Champions.  He was on Ligue One Team of the Year 3 times.  Later, he played for many clubs without successes.  From 2004 to 2012, he represented Nigeria 54 times.  He went to the 2010 World Cup Finals. He was on the CAF Team of the Year: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011.

Babayaro spent the majority of his career playing in the Premier League, mainly for Chelsea from 1997 to 2005, and then later for Newcastle United, from 2005 to 2008. He had a brief stint at MLS club LA Galaxy, but never officially played for the club. He retired as a free agent in 2010. Babayaro represented the Nigeria national football team from 1995 to 2004 and was part of two Olympic squads, two World Cup squads and three African Cup of Nations squads.

Mikel began his career with Plateau United, before joining Lyn in 2004. In 2006, he made a controversial transfer to  Chelsea after Manchester United claimed they had already signed him. He stayed with Chelsea for 11 years, before moving to Tianjin TEDA in 2017. He later played with Middlesbrough, Trabzonspor and Stoke City. Between 2005 and 2019, he played 91 times for Nigeria, scoring six goals.  He attended two World Cup Finals as well as winning the 2013 AFCON.

Sunday Oliseh was a member of the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He won the Gold Medal at Atlanta 1996 and appeared in the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  He scored the winning goal against Spain in 1998. For his club career, he played for many clubs, including stints with Ajax Amsterdam, FC Koln, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Bochum, Genk, etc.

Muda Lawal is the only player ever to appear at five consecutive African Nation Cup final rounds (1976-1984), winning the edition in 1980 and it was Nigeria's first ever victory in the tournament. He had 86 caps between 1975 and 1985. At home, he played for Shooting Stars FC, where he won the African Cup Winners' Cup in 1976. His club was disbanded for a few years.  The Ashero Stadium in his hometown Abeokuta was named after him.  

is the joint most capped Nigerian player alongside Kanu Nwankwo with 86 games. He is the first player in Africa to play in five consecutive African Cup of Nations from 1976 to 1984. He was a member of the Nigerian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and was a legend with the famous Nigerian club (IICC Shooting Stars) in his playing days. - See more at:
is the joint most capped Nigerian player alongside Kanu Nwankwo with 86 games. He is the first player in Africa to play in five consecutive African Cup of Nations from 1976 to 1984. He was a member of the Nigerian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and was a legend with the famous Nigerian club (IICC Shooting Stars) in his playing days. - See more at:
RW/FW:  Segun Odegbami 
Nicknamed "Mathematical", Segun Odegbami is regarded as one of the greatest Nigerian players of all-time.  He won the African Cup of nations in 1980 and he scored two goals in the Final. Because of that, he was the runner-up for the African Player of the Year award the same year. He also won the 1976 African Cup Winners Cup with Shooting Stars.  he played for them between 1970 and 1984 before that he played for Ibadan Housing Corporation.
Segun Odegbami 
Finidi George was a member of Ajax Amsterdam that won the 1995 Champions' League.  The team was considered one of the greatest club sides in history.  He also played for Real Betis, Mallorca and Ipswich Town.  He was a key member of Nigeria's Golden Generation in the 1990's. He played in two World Cup Finals: 1994 and 1998. He was also a member of the team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1994.  He has 62 caps in total between 1991 and 2002.

Adokiye was a member of the Nigerian side that won gold at the African Cup of Nations in 1980 and played at the soccer finals of the 1980 Summer Olympics. He also represented Nigeria at the 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.  He played for the Enugu Rangers Football Club (of Enugu), Sharks Football Club (of Port Harcourt) and African Continental Bank Football Club, Lagos.

Jay-Jay Okocha is widely considered to be one of Nigeria's greatest footballers. In 2007 Jay-Jay Okocha was voted number 12 on the greatest African footballers of the past 50 years by CAF.  He was Nigeria Player of the Year in 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.  He played in three World Cup Finals(1994, 1998, 2002) and won an Olympic Gold medal in 1996.  At the club level, he played for Fenerbahçe, Eintracht Frankfurt, PSG, Bolton Wanderers and Hull City.
Jay-Jay Okocha
FW/WF:  Victor Ikpeba
Victor Ikpeba had 31 caps for the Super Eagles. He was African Player of the Year in 1997 because his performance for AS Monaco.   He was a member of the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He won the Gold Medal at Atlanta 1996 and appeared in the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  He had a great career with Monaco playing under Arsène Wenger, but his career was not the same after Monaco.  He also played for Borussia Dortmund, Real Betis, etc.

Nwankwo Kanu was voted as Nigeria's greatest player.  He captained Nigeria's Gold Medal team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.  He was African Player of the Year in 1996 and 1999.  He was a member of Ajax that won the 1995 Champions' League and considered one of the greatest club sides in history.  Because of a heart condition, his career in Italy was interrupted and joined Arsenal in 1999, where he enjoyed 6 great seasons and won two Premiership.  
Nwankwo Kanu
Aiyegbeni Yakubu was best remembered for his 11 seasons playing in England scoring over 130 goals.  During his time in England, he played for Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, and Blackburn Rovers.  He is the second highest African goalscorer in Premier League history with 96 goals. He also played club football in Israel, China, Qatar and Turkey.  For Nigeria, he was capped 57 times, but he was not selected for the 2002 World Cup Finals.  He only played in a single World Cup Finals in 2010.

Daniel Amokachi was a member of the Golden Generation in the 1990's.  He came third in the African Player of the Year award three times. He won the Gold Medal at Atlanta 1996 and appeared in the World Cup Finals in 1994 and 1998.  He earned a big move to Everton after the World Cup in 1994.  His club career was, however, marked with injuries.  He also played for Club Brugge and Beşiktaş J.K.

Rashidi Yekini shared the African Player of the Year with Abedi Pele in 1993. He scored Nigeria's first ever World Cup goal in 1994.  He scored 37 goals in 58 appearance for the national team, playing in the Golden Generation in the 1990's. His professional career, which spanned more than two decades, was mainly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, but he also played in seven other countries, including Gateway United FC in Nigeria. In Portugal, he won the Bola de Prata in 1994. He died in 2011 at the age of 48.
Rashidi Yekini

Honorable Mention
Alloy Agu, Ike Shorunmu, Wilfred Agbonavbare, Inua Lawal Rigogo, Sam Ibiam, Peter Fregene, Yisa Sofoluwe, Bright Omokaro, Daniel Anyiam, Joseph Yobo, Michael Emenalo, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Godwin Achebe, Uche Okechukwu, Godwin Odiye, Fabian Duru, Obafemi Martins, Ben Iroha, Wilfred Ndidi, Samson Siasia, Cyril Asoluka, Tijani Babangida, Ahmed Musa, Mutiu Adepoju, Aloysius Atuegbu, Etim Esin, Sam Garba, Henry Nwosu, Samuel Okwaraji, Haruna Ilerika, Samuel Okpodu, Emmanuel Amuneke, Elkanah Onyeali, Teslim Balogun,Titus Okere, Thomson Usiyan, John Oyeador, Felix Owolabi, Samuel Okwaraji, Julius Aghahowa, Emmanuel Emenike.

Squad Explanation
-- The original team was created in 2014.  I redid the team in October, 2022.  
-- Nwankwo Kanu or Jay Jay Okacha is Nigeria's greatest ever player.  Rashidi Yekini and Segun Odegbami might be automatic selections along side Christian Chukwu.
-- The squad was full of players from the African Cup of Nations winners in 1980 and the Golden Generation of the 1990's. Only seven players were not from the two eras. Tony Igwe, Taye Taiwo, Victor Moses, Mikel John Obi, Segun Olumodeji,  Aiyegbeni Yakubu, Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama.
-- Five players were selected from the 1980 African Cup of Nations.  They were Emmanuel Okala, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Segun Odegbami, Christian Chukwu and Muda Lawal.  The 1980 team opened the door for future generation. 
-- Only three members of the 2013 African Cup of Nations winning team were selected. They are Mikel John Obi, Victor Moses, Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama. 
-- A large contingent came from the 1990's Golden Generation. From the 1996 Olympics Gold medal winning team, I selected the following: Jay Jay Okacha, Taribo West, Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba and Daniel Amokachi.  Peter Rufai, Finidi George, Stephen Keshi and Rashidi Yekini were also from that Golden Generation from the 1990's, but did not attend the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  With the exception of West, everyone just mentioned went to the 1994 World Cup Finals.
-- In 1994, I attended Nigeria-Argentina, Greece-Nigeria and Nigeria-Italy matches at the World Cup Finals.  I had fond memories of the games.
Nigeria vs Argentina World Cup 1994
-- Rashidi Yekini was Nigeria's first ever winner of the African Player of the Year.  The other winners are Emmanuel Amunike, Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba.  Jay-Jay Okocha who is considered among Africa's greatest playmaker never won it. Victor Ikpeba might be overrated, but he won the African Player of the Year.  His selection was based upon of his successes with AS Monaco. Emmanuel Amunike's career after 1994 was average. He was on my 2014 team, but I did not select him in 2022.
-- Segun Odegbami wrote a number of articles on the greatest Nigerians on each positions.  He asked former players, coaches, journalists, etc on the subjects.  I found them very useful, but they tended to favour the pre-1990's Golden Generation. His articles were insightful, but I tried to balance it out.
-- The IFFHS chose the following players for their All-Time Best XI: Emmanuel Okala, Victor Moses, Uche Okechukwu, Stephen Keshi, Taribo West, Sunday Oliseh, Jay-Jay OkochaFinidi George, Rashidi Yekini, Nwankwo Kanu.  They also had a Team B.  They were Peter Rufai, Augustine Eguavoen, Christian Chukwu, Joseph Yobo, Celestine Babayaro, Mikel John Obi, Henry Nwosu, Segun Odegbami, Daniel Amokachi, Victor Ikpeba and Haruna Ilerika.
-- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) compiled a list of 200 greatest African footballers of the last 50 years in 2006. I used this list as a reference.  The Nigerians selected were: Christian Chukwu, Muda Lawal, Segun Odegbami, Felix Owolabi, Stephen Keshi, Henry Kwosu, Samuel Okwaraji, Peter Rufai, Rashidi Yekini, Julius Aghahowa, Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amunike, Victor Ikpeba, Nwankwo Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha, Sunday Oliseh and Taribo West.  No one was selected from their 1957 to 1970 category. 
-- During the review of 2022, I recognised that Vincent Enyeama had surpassed Peter Rufai as Nigeria's greatest ever goalkeeper.  He helped Nigeria to third-place finishes in the 2004, 2006, and 2010 AFCON tournaments before winning the 2013 title. In World Cup Finals, he remembered for his performances against Argentina. For his club career, he had a wonderful career with Lille.  He won the 2014 Prix Marc-Vivien Foé, an award given to the best African player in Ligue 1.  Peter Rufai captained Nigeria's first ever side in the World Cup Finals.  He was also one of the first Nigerian goalkeepers to play in Europe.
Vincent Enyeama
-- In 2014, I took  Emmanuel Okala as my third goalkeeper.  In 2022, I decided to look more into Best Ogedegbe.  He sometimes listed as Nigeria's third greatest goalkeeper. He was voted into 1980 African Cup of Nations' Team of Tournament as he helped Nigeria for their first ever title at the tournament, but he only spent around 2 years with the national team.  His career was largely behind Okala, but Nigeria’s Brazilian coach Otto Gloria preferred Best Ogedegbe at the 1980 tournament.  Thus, I decided to keep Okala.  Okala was named the African Player of the Year in 1978 by African Sports Journalists Union. 
-- Alloy Agu's career was overshadowed by his contemporary Peter Rufai, but he was able to unseat Peter Rufai for AFCON in 1990 and 1992.  Ike Shorunmu and Wilfred Agbonavbare were also well-respected in Nigeria. I also decided to honor Inua Lawal Rigogo, Sam Ibiam and Peter Fregene as old-timers.  Rigogo was known for his flamboyant style.  Peter Fregene's career spanned three decades.  He played from the 1960's to 1980's,  He was Rufai's idol.  Ibiam was Nigeria’s first international keeper.  He represented Nigeria as the UK Tourists in 1949. They all made honorable mention.
 -- On the left, I took two leftbacks who made a name in Europe, namely Taye Taiwo and Celestine Babayaro. Taiwo was CAF Team of the Year 4 times and Ligue One Team of the Year another 3 times.  He was a top leftback in his prime.  Celestine Babayaro on the other hand only played 27 times for Nigeria, but most people viewed him as Nigeria's greatest leftback. In Chelsea, he played well while sharing the position with Graeme La Saux. Ben Iroha also had a legendary status with the national team, but his club career was mediocre.  He was a journeyman.  Some people definitely would choose him over Taiwo, West or Babayaro, but I put him down the pecking order. I have a blog post about Michael Emenalo.  Bright Omokaro and Yisa Sofoluwe made honorable mention.
-- Taribo West was mainly a central defender, but several sources including IFFHS put him as a leftback.  He stood out because he played for Inter Milan as well as his colorful hairstyle. He was sometimes even listed among Africa's greatest defenders. He was one of the best defender in Italy when he played for Inter Milan, but his peak was very short.  Neverthless, I included him on the team.
-- Stephen Keshi and Christian Chukwu were the two famous central defenders.  Keshi was given the CAF Legend Award in 2009.  At the time of writing, he was one of two Nigerian footballers who had won the award.   The other was Jay Jay Okocha. 
Christian Chukwu 
-- Joseph Yobo established himself at the English Premiership. He was also Nigeria's second most capped player.   In 2014, I also had Godwin Achebe and Uche Okechukwu on the team. In 2022, I came upon Segun Olumodeji and Godwin Odiye.  The last central defender position came from this five players. Segun Odegbami did a series of questionnaire on the greatest Nigerian central defender.  Many people named Segun Olumodeji.  He seemed to more famous than both Godwin Achebe and Godwin Odiye.  Several famous persons named him as the greatest ever central defender from Nigeria.  So I took him even through I had limited information on him.  The older fans in Nigeria must agree with my decision.  I also could not understand why I took Achebe in 2014.  
-- At the end of the selection, I still had one more spot.  The last choice was between  Joseph Yobo, Uche Okechukwu, and Victor Moses (second rightback).  Both were selected by IFFHS on their All-Time Best XI. Joseph Yobo was more famous than the two of them. Victor Moses played 10 seasons in the Premiership, but not necessarily as a starter while the highlight of Uche Okechukwu's career was spent in Turkey (although he was a star player in the Super Lig).  Victor Moses was on the Team of the Tournament as Nigeria won the 2013 AFCON.  He also won the Fair Play award in the same tournament.  Furthermore, I probably needed a backup rightback more than a 5th central defender.  So I decided to give the spot to him.  Celestine Babayaro was also considered.
-- Joseph Yobo started his European career with Standard Liege in Belgium. His most famous stint was with Everton where he spent 8 years seasons.   He was one of only seven players in the entire league to play every minute of every game throughout the 2006–07 season. He also played in Spain, Turkey and France. Yobo earned over a 100 caps and is the cap record holder for Nigeria.  He was the captain of Nigeria.  He played in three World Cup Finals in 2002, 2010 and 2014.
-- Godwin Achebe is the youngest ever captain for the Super Eagles. He was a 18 years old.  He played for Nigeria from 1960 to 1974.  His first match was in 1960 against Ghana. His national team career, however, was interrupted by the civil war.  For club football, he played for Enugu Rangers. 
-- Uche Okechukwu was a part of the Golden Generation of the 1990's.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1994 and the Olympics in 1996.  The highlight of his domestic club football was played in Turkey with Fenerbahçe and İstanbulspor AS. He spent 13 years playing in Turkey and is the longest serving foreign player in Turkey.
-- Fabian Duru captained Nigeria against Ghana on September 10, 1960. He became the Sportsman of the Year that year. It was the first time a footballer would win the award in Nigeria. He made honorable mentions.
-- In 1976, Mudashiru Lawal guided his club Shooting Stars to win the African Cup Winners Cup – the first Nigerian club team to win a continental trophy.  Four years later, he helped the national team to win their first AFCON title.  He was also the first Nigerian player to have played in five AFCON finals. He was an automatic selection in 2014.  I also took Sunday Oliseh from the Golden Generation.  Some list ranked him the top greatest Nigerian footballer.  I might not agree with it, but he certainly deserved a spot.
-- In 2022, I added Mikel John Obi because the team did not have enough central/defensive midfielders.  Furthermore, he spent 10 seasons playing for Chelsea as a key player.  In addition, he helped Nigeria to win the 2013 AFCON.  Wilfred Ndidi had to wait his turn.
Mikel John Obi 
-- I watched Jay-Jay Okocha as a teenage player against Italy in the 1994 World Cup Finals.  I sat in a section full of Italian fans and they were all amazed by him.  It was one of my lasting memories of that World Cup Finals.  He would become one of Africa's greatest players.  he was one of the most skillful and technical gifted players in his generation.   His PSG teammate Ronaldinho understudied him and considered him his idol. He also belonged the Golden Generation of Nigeria winning an Olympic Gold medal and the 1994 AFCON.  
-- Haruna Ilerika played 24 times for the Green Eagles but scored only 3 goals during his entire career for the national team.
-- Samuel Okwaraji was ranked the 7th greatest Nigerian footballer by a local site.   He was mentioned a few times by experts from Segun Odegbami's articles.  He died at the age of 25 in 1989 so we did not know what he would have became.  He already belonged to several clubs in Europe, but did not play regularly, which was already an achievement by African standard in that era.  He would have just turned 30 right before the 1994 World Cup Finals.  So he could have been an impact player over there.  The IFFHS named Henry Nwosu on their second Best XI.  He was mentioned in Odegbami's articles, but not frequently.  He was only 17 years old when he won the AFCON in 1980.  He had a glorified career with the national team, but it was short.  His successes were overshadowed by future generations.  He was young enough to be on the 1994 team, but he started to fade around 1988 or 1989. I also came across Etim Esin, Mutiu Adepoju, Aloysius Atuegbu and Sam Garba.  All of those players were named on honorable mention.
-- Segun Odegbami never played club football outside of Africa, but his contributions to Nigeria were great.  He was probably Nigeria's greatest player before the generation from the 1990's. He was a right winger and a forward.  Then, I selected Finidi George who made a name in the Golden Generation of the 1990's as well as Ajax of 1995. The offence of Nigeria of the 1990's generation was based upon his wing attack. Tijani Babangida played around the same time as Finidi George. So he was often played on the left.  In 2022, I put Ahmed Musa on honorable mention.  He scored some important goals for Nigeria at the World Cup Finals.  Cyril Asoluka was an early pioneer in Nigeria, but was not considered the greatest wingers of all-time.
Finidi George
-- Emmanuel Amuneke was named by the Nigeria Football Federation as their greatest left winger on their Best XI, but the Nigerian sources rated Adokiye Amiesimaka who played on the 1980 AFCON winning team better.  Adokiye was mentioned frequently by Segun Odegbami's articles. So I decided to put Amuneke on honorable mention (see below). I also came across Friday Elahor and Humphrey Edobor during my research.  The IFHHS named Haruna Ilerika as their left wing on their Best XI second team, but I am sure that Adokiye Amiesimaka was rated more highly than them by the Nigerians.
-- Emmanuel Amuneke was a star at the World Cup Finals in 1994, where he won the African Player of the Year the same year.  He won the Gold Medal at 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, scoring the winning goal in the Final.  He made a big move to Barcelona in 1996, but did not play much there. He spent time with Zamalek in Egypt and Sporting CP in Portugal. He played 27 times for Nigeria.
-- Nwankwo Kanu was probably the most famous Nigerian footballer due to his time with Arsenal and being a key player during Nigeria's Golden Generation. Rashidi Yekini helped the Super Eagles win the 1994 AFCON in Tunisia where he was named best player of the competition and finished as the top scorer.  He is Nigeria's all-time leading scorer with 37 goals (15 goals ahead of Segun Odegbami).  This two were automatic selection.
-- Yakubu Ayegbeni was not from the Golden Generation. He is the second highest African goalscorer in Premier League history with 96 goals.  In 2022, I meant to drop him, but after comparing his career with Emmanuel Amuneke, Daniel Amokachi and Victor Ikpeba, I decided to select him over Amuneke.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu
-- The last two spots were between Daniel Amokachi, Victor Ikpeba and Emmanuel Amuneke.
-- Because of his performance with AS Monaco, Victor Ikpeba won the 1997 African Player of the Year. Despite winning the award, he was never considered among Nigeria's greatest ever footballers.  His career went downhill after he left AS Monaco.  For the Super Eagles, he was never the best player at either Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and Olympic Games in 1996.
-- Daniel Amokachi's opportunity with the Super Eagles was limited due to playing at the same time as Rashidi Yekini.  He only scored 13 international goals in 44 caps, but he scored some important and beautiful at USA 1994.  However, his club career was not as impressive as Victor Ikpeba.  
-- Liked Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke was a star at the 1994 World Cup Finals.  And liked Victor Ikpeba, he won the African Player of the Year.  However, he was plagued by injuries throughout his career. His prime years were spent as a seldom used player in Barcelona. In the end, I dropped Emmanuel Amuneke, largely of the negative comments I found about him on Nigerian sites.  Victor Ikpeba could also play as a left winger which made him an valuable player.  In my opinion, Daniel Amokachi was the best player at USA 1994.  I was at the stadium when he scored that stunner against Greece.  My judgement might have beens clouded my own memory,
-- Obafemi Martins did very well in Inter Milan, but his peak years were very short. Teslim Balogun played for Queens Park Rangers in the 1956-1957 season.  He scored 3 times out of 13 appearances.  Titus Okere was the first Nigerian to play in Europe, but his career never spanned out.  I honored him for his milestone rather than his playing level (I did not know much about him other than the breakthrough).

Starting lineup
Formation 4-3-3



  1. Well done for insightful presentation of the Golden era of Nigerian football. The team selection you suggested is interesting due to the balance of attacking power, midfield control, and meanness in defence.
    However, I probably would have swapped Odegbami with Finidi George.
    Still, your line-up is very good.
    It will take a long while to build such a “Golden” generation of fine footballers again

  2. Enyeama
    Chukwu Okechukwu West
    Ndidi Keshi
    Finidi Okocha
    Odegbami Yekini Martins

    A 3 men backline accomodates the better defenders. Keshi and Finidi have always performed in midfield.
    Martins is only fitting for this formation.
    Victor Osimhen may replace Yekini, if he keeps up his trajectory.