Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Top Ten Goal Scorers In Nigeria Football History

Nigeria is indeed blessed with many football talent and they are scattered all over Europe and even in other continents also. Over the years we have seen some of these great talents put on the Green and White Jersey and they indeed did make the Super Eagles proud. Today we would be taking a look at the top 10 highest goal scorers to ever play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, some are dead, some retired and some are still playing active football. You have been wondering who the top goal scorer for Nigeria is, here is your answer;

  1. Rashidi Yekini (Late)
The most prolific goal scorer Nigeria ever had, he still remains the goal king in Nigeria, after 16 years of retirement from National team football, his record still stands and is yet to be reached.  His professional career, which spanned more than two decades, started in the early 1980's and retired in the late 1990's. He was mostly associated with Vitória de Setúbal in Portugal, as he holds a special place in the hearts of the supporters and also in the history of the club where he played 128 times and scored 93 goals.

He got his first goal for Nigeria in Nairobi against Kenya on the 6 April 1985, in a qualifying game for the 1986  World Cup and after that Yekini scored 36 more times to become Nigeria highest goal scorer. He represented the nation in six major tournaments, including two World Cups, 1994 and 1998 and three African Cup of Nations, 1988, 1990, 1992 and 1994. In 1994 world cup in USA, he scored the country's first-ever goal in the competition, and who could forget his famous celebrations which went on to become one of the iconic images of the tournament, clinging to the net and crying, the goal was against Bulgaria. His last goal was against Jamaica on the 22 February 1998 in Kingston, at a friendly match. Yekini was named the African Footballer of the Year in 1993.
  1. Segun Odegbami
The second on the list is striker turn pundit and aspiring candidate for FIFA President Chief Segun Odegbami. He is regarded as one of the greatest Nigerian players of all time as his precise style of play gave him the nick name mathematical. He attended and graduated from Nigeria's Premier Technical institution, The  Polytechnic, Ibadan. He studied Engineering.

He played 46 times and scored 23 goals for the National Team, he also played a part in Nigeria’s quest in winning its first Africa Cup of Nations title at the 1980 tournament in Nigeria, he was among the top scorers of the tournament, on tie with Moroccan Khaled Labied with 3goals each. He scored in Nigeria’s first game, scoring the third goal with Nigeria beating Tanzania by three goals to one, he added two more in the final of the tournament against Algeria, with Nigeria winning three goals to nil. He was named in the team of the tournament along side with team mates such as Best Ogedegbe and Christian Chukwu.  He played for IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan his entire career, from 1970 to 1984. Odegbami won 3 Nigerian Premier League titles, three FA Cups, his last game was the 1984 African Champions Cup final defeat to Zamalek of Egypt.
  1. Yakubu Aiyegbeni
Nicknamed ‘Yak the bull’ because of his agility on the ball, his balance and scoring ability. In one of the clubs he played for, the fans have a saying ‘feed the Yak and he will score’ and that was in Blackburn where he played 30times and scored 17times in the league.

He has played in over 6 countries and might still add to that any time soon, he currently playing for Turkish side Kayserispor and who knows he might play in the MLS also, having travelled all over the continent, he played in Portugal with Gil Vicente, played in Israel with two clubs Maccabi Hafia and Hapoel Kfar Saba, moved to England with Portmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester, Blackburn and later moved to China with Guangzhou from there to Qatar with Al Rayyan.

He is the third highest scorer in the history of the Nigeria national football team with 21 goals from 58 appearances. He has represented Nigeria at four African Cup of Nations finals, the 2010 FIFA World Cup and at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Plenty football loving Nigerians have not forgiven Yak for his miss against South Korea at the 2010 World Cup, where his goal would have ensured that Nigeria would qualify for the next stage of the tournament though he later scored a penalty that saw Nigeria level on score with South Korea but that wasn't enough to make the team qualify.
  1.  Ikechukwu Uche
He played most of his career football in Spain, a country he arrived at the age of 18 and left the country just recently to Mexico where he currently plays for the Tigres UANL.

He is the younger brother of Kalu Uche who currently plays in India. Ik Uche like he was been referred to has appeared twice for Nigeria in the African Nations Cup, in 2008 and 2013 after making his debut for Nigeria in 2007. He was part of the squad that competed in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, helping the Super Eagles to the quarterfinals, and in 2013 he won the cup with the Super Eagles under Coach Stephen Keshi.

His first goal was against Lesotho on 8 September 2007, at the Warri Township Stadium while his last came on the 15 November 2014 at the Stade Municipal (Pointe-Noire), Congo for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification. He has a total of 19goals from 42 appearances with a conversion ratio of 0.42.
  1. Obafemi Martins
The weapon of mass destruction as he’s fondly call by some pundits, some football fans call him Obagoal (king of goals). Obagoal is the only Nigerian to have won the Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in same season and that was when he was with Inter Milan.

Obagoal has been in the Nigerian squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and for the FIFA World Cup in 2010. He was a part of the Nigerian team that finished third in the 2006 African Cup of Nations. Martins scored two goals in the competition, both coming against Senegal in the first round. His future for the national team has been placed in doubt on numerous occasions after separate incidents of controversy.

On 17 November 2007, Martins captained Nigeria for the first time, in a friendly match against Australia for his 19th appearance. Just recently in November, he was called up to play for Nigeria by the new Super Eagles Coach, after two years absence, he was called up due to his blistering form throughout the MLS season after scoring 15 goals in the regular season for Seattle Sounders which made him win the team’s Most Valuable Player of the Season as well as the Golden Boot. His call up was to replace Emmanuel Emineike which put end to his National Team Service after just 4years. He played in two matches of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia against Swaziland, which was back to back, he came on as a substitute at the away tie in Swaziland on 13 November, he came in on the 71st minute for John Obi Mikel and showed some glimpses of the obagoal we all know but it was too late, the match ended in a goaless draw. He’s currently enjoying his holiday with his family after the regular season of the MLS has ended.  

After eleven (11) years with the national team he currently seats on the fifth position with 18 goals from 42 appearances with conversion ratio of 0.41.
  1. Samson Siasia
Joint fifth in all-time scorers chart with Obafemi Martins, he’s now the coach of U-23 team, Dream team VI, and they are currently in Senegal playing the U-23 Africa Championship.

His 18 goals excluded the three he scored for the Flying Eagles which he played for in 1983 and 1985. His most important goal for Nigeria was the one he scored against Maradona-inspired Argentina in the 1994 World Cup.

He played 51 international matches for Nigeria as he was part of the team that participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and won the 1994 African Nations Cup. He was also a member of the Nigerian team that won bronze at 1992 African Nations Cup in Senegal. He participated in the National Team over a period of 11 years and was recognized in Nigeria as the third leading scorer for the National Team.

In November 2009, the main field at the Yenagoa Township Stadium was named in his honour and just recently his mother was kidnapped in Bayelsa for almost two weeks while he was on duty with the national team, she has been reported to have been releases later on.
  1. Sunday Oyarekhua
A career policeman, Oyarekhua was discovered by the national team's coaches while playing for the Police F.C. of Lagos. Oyarekhua scored 17 times in 30 appearances for Nigeria between 1971 and 1976. He scored on his debut, a friendly match against the Upper Volta in 1971. He was the leading scorer in the Nigeria team at the 1973 All-Africa Games. Oyarekhua also played for Nigeria at the 1976 African Cup of Nations finals in Ethiopia. He recently retired as the Assistant Commissioner of the Osun State Police.
  1. Austin Jay Jay Okocha
A quick and skillful playmaker, who is widely regarded as the best Nigerian player of his generation and one of the greatest African players of all time, Okocha was known for his pace on the ball, technique, creativity, and dribbling skills, as well as his use of feints, in particular the step-overs. Okocha was loved by Bolton fans that they “he is so good that they named him twice”. He is a dual citizenship with Nigerian and Turkey, having acquired Turkish citizenship as “Muhammet Yavuz” while playing for Süper Lig team Fenerbahçe.

The name Jay-Jay was actually passed down from his older brother James, who started playing football first. He began playing football on the street just like many other football stars, usually with a makeshift ball. Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria in their 21 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier away loss against Ivory Coast in May 1993.It was not until his second cap and home debut that he became a favourite with the Nigerian supporters. With Nigeria trailing 10 against Algeria, in a match they needed to win, he scored from a direct free kick to equalise, before helping the team to a 41 win, eventually securing qualification to their first World Cup. In 1994, he was a member of both the victorious 1994 African Cup of Nations squad and the World Cup squad who made it to the second round before they lost in a dramatic match against eventual runners-up Italy.

In 1996, Okocha became a member of an arguably more successful Nigerian side, the Olympic Gold winning side at the Atlanta Games, later nicknamed Dream Team by the Nigerian press after the USA 1992 Olympic gold winning basketball team.

After a disappointing Nations Cup in 2002 where Nigeria ended up finishing third, Okocha was named Nigeria captain after Sunday Oliseh and Finidi George were axed from the side. His first tournament as captain came that summer in the 2002 World Cup. Playing in Group E, the alongside Argentina, Sweden and England, Nigeria failed to make it to the next round gaining only one point in their final game, a goalless draw against England.

Okocha later led the Nigerian team to a third-place finish at the 2004 African Nations Cup in Tunisia, with some breathtaking displays, scoring four goals which include a spectacular free kick against Cameroon in the quarter finals and most notably the 1000th goal in Nations Cup history against South Africa, and winning the Player of the tournament and joint Golden boot winner.
After failing to help Nigeria qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Okocha announced that he would retire from international scene after the Cup of Nations in Egypt. Injury prevented Okocha from featuring in any of Nigeria's opening fixtures and he did not regain fitness until the semi final loss against Ivory Coast. He then played in his final International appearance in a 21 victory in a third place playoff against Senegal, he was then given a standing ovation by the nearly 60,000 attendance when he left the field.

In March 2004, he was named one of the top 125 living footballers by Pelé. Jay Jay Okocha scored 15 goals for Nigeria in a 13-year career after 73games.
  1. Julius Aghahowa
Aghahowa became the first foreign national outside of the former Soviet Union who was among the best scorers in the Ukrainian Premier League (2000-01). Aghahowa has played for Nigeria at four Africa (4) Cup  of Nations, the 2002 World Cup and the 2000 Olympics, as well as playing top-flight football in Tunisia, Ukraine, England and Turkey.

Aghahowa has played 32 matches and scored 14 goals for the Nigerian national team, including their only goal at the 2002 World Cup against Sweden. He became Nigeria's top goal scorer at the 2002 African Nations Cup. He won the Ukrainian Premier League four (4) times with Shakhtar Donetsk and also won two (2) Ukrainian Cups.
  1. Asuquo Ekpe 
He also has fourteen (14) goals in his five years with the Green Eagles and Thompson Usiyan, he also played for Nigeria for 5years. He is a retired Nigerian football (soccer) player. He holds the NCAA Division I career scoring record and played in the North American Soccer League, Major Indoor Soccer League, American Soccer League and Continental Indoor Soccer League. He was a member of the Nigerian Olympic soccer which boycotted the 1976 Olympics. He made several appearances for the Nigerian national football team including a 02 1982 FIFA World Cup qualifying loss to Algeria on 10 October 1981 in Lagos. He scored on his debut, a friendly match against Kenya in 1976.

  1. Daniel Amokachi
Daniel Amokachi often called ‘dan the bull’ in his playing days, as a player he was a striker and he played from 1989 until 2005. He started his career with Ranchers Bees before earning notability by playing outside his native country with Premier League side Everton, as well as Club Brugge and Beşiktaş before initially finishing his career in the United States with Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids. He returned to Nigeria in 2005 to briefly play for Nasarawa United, who he went on to manage before moving on to Enyimba.

He was part of the team that participated in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and 1998 FIFA World Cup and won the 1994 African Nations Cup. He also helped win the Olympic gold medal in 1996, scoring in the Gold Medal game itself against Argentina. Amokachi sustained an injury just ahead of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, played one game, but struggled with knee problems thereafter. After leaving Beşiktaş in 1999, his playing career more or less ended. He signed with 1860 Munich, but the contract was cancelled after he failed a medical test. He played forty-six times (46) and scored on 13 occasions.
  1. Nwankwo Kanu,
 He is His called papilo and also called King Kanu by Portmouth fans as he helped them to win the FA cup during the 2007/2008 season. He is a retired Nigerian footballer who played as a striker. He was a member of and later captained the Nigerian national team for 16 years from 1994 until 2010. Kanu has won a UEFA Champions League medal, a UEFA Cup medal, three FA Cup and two African Player of the Year awards amongst others. He is also one of few players to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal. He made the third-most substitute appearances in Premier League history, appearing from the bench 118 times. He is also a UNICEF ambassador. 
Earlier on at the start of his career, Kanu was instrumental in Nigeria's overall success at the 1993 FIFA U-17 tournament in Japan and their subsequent 21 victory over Ghana in the final. With five goals, he was second joint-scorer in the tournament with Peter Anosike and Manuel Neira, behind compatriot and Captain Wilson Oruma.

He was part of the team that won the Olympic gold in the football event at 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he scored the winning goal in the 4-3 semi-final win over Brazil. Kanu participated in the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. On 24 June 2010, Kanu ended his international career following Nigeria's exit from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He won 86 caps and scored 13 goals for his country and was the joint most capped Nigerian player of all-time alongside Muda Lawal, until Joseph Yobo surpassed both players in 2012, winning his 87th cap.
Victor Nsofor Obinna
He is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a second striker for MSV Duisburg. Obinna played for Nigerian clubs Plateau United and Kwara United where he was discovered by FIFA agent Marcelo Houseman, he went on trials with Italian clubs Internazionale, Perugia and Juventus before signing with Brazilian club Internacional, but international clearance problems meant that the transfer was never finalised. He rejoined Enyimba to take part in their domestic league campaign and CAF Champions League defence. Obinna was a member of the U-20 Flying Eagles that Won Gold in Benin in the African Youth Tournament in 2005 after which he was called up to the Nigerian senior squad at the 2006 African Cup of Nations, scoring once before his side's semi-final elimination.

In August 2008, he was named amongst Nigeria's squad for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Obinna scored Nigeria's first goal in a 21 win against Japan the "Dream Team IV" winning goal in the final group match against the USA, ensuring that Nigeria qualified for the quarter-finals. Nigeria was drawn against Ivory Coast who they beat 20, with Obinna scoring a penalty and setting up Peter Odemwingie for the other goal. He later captained the Nigerian team when they beat Belgium 41 in the semi-final match, before losing to Argentina in the final. He has played 48 matches and he has scored 13goals.
That’s the list of the top Nigerian goals scorers, I’m open to corrections and suggestions, if you think that I got it wrong, maybe I didn’t mention some players or some figures are not correct, let’s hear from you.

Compiled by Adekunle Adewale (@hrhmayowa)

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