With a population of about 186 million people, Nigeria is a country with a lot of sports interests, but a famous celebrity is football. Since 1949, when a group of Nigerian football players were recruited to form ‘England Travelers’, a touring team representing Nigeria in Europe, it produced some of the best football players in Africa.
In 1953, Titus Okere joined Swindon Town FC as the first Nigerian football player to play for an international team and since then, many other talented football players have emerged from this country. Here is a list of some of the best football players from Nigeria.
Sunday Oliseh is a former Nigerian footballer and soccer player, during his active years, playing as a defensive midfielder. Born on September 14, 1974, his football career lasted from 1989 to 2006 when he retired at the age of 32.
During his professional career, he played for teams Julius Berger, RFC Liège, Reggiana, Ajax, Juventus and Genk among others, and the Nigeria National Team from 1993–2002. As a club manager, he manages Eupen, Verviétois, Nigeria, and currently Fortuna Sittard.
At the age of 19, his special skill earned 1, 5 million Euros (1, 8 million USD) transferred to Köln from Reggiana and 22 Ajax bought him for 2, 3 million euros (2, 7 million USD). Oliseh played for Nigeria at the World Cup in 1994 and 1998, played 54 international matches and scored twice for Nigeria.
However, he was most fondly remembered when he scored a goal in a group stage match against Spain at the 1998 World Cup. Oliseh is worth an estimated 3, 4 million euros (US $ 4 million).
Known as “Jay-Jay”, Augustine Azuka Okocha was born on August 14, 1973. He played as an attacking midfielder from 1990-2008 and is known for his skill, confidence and dribbling skills.
During his career, he played for Borussia Neunkirchen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahçe, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers, Qatar SC and Hull City. For Nigeria, he played 75 international matches and scored 14 goals from 1993-2006. Since retiring in 2008, he is now an entrepreneur, owns several companies in his hometown, and is estimated to be worth about 127 million euros (US $ 150 million).