In football, the midfield is a very competitive position. Over the years, Nigeria has produced some very brilliant midfielders that have made names for the national and their respective clubs in Europe and other continents. Do you want to know the best Super Eagles Midfielders of all time? Check them out below, in no particular order:
- Kanu Nwankwo
Kanu Nwankwo, aka Papilo, was a forward and midfielder who scored 98 goals in 406 games and was named African Footballer of the Year. He also helped Nigeria win the first African gold medal in football at the Olympics. Kanu Nwankwo captained the Nigerian team. He has previously played for Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Brom and Portsmouth. During those moments, he unleashed his talent and developed dribbling, football control, unexpected skills, possession, and scoring tactics. So he is remembered as one of the greatest African footballers ever.
- Mikel Obi
John Obi Mikel is one of Nigeria’s best players in recent years. Mikel began his career with Plateau United before joining Lyn in 2004 at the age of 17. In 2006, he joined Chelsea from Manchester United, who claimed they had already signed him. He spent 11 years with Chelsea before joining Tianjin TEDA in 2017. He spent two years in China before joining Trabzonspor on a free transfer in July 2019. Mikel rejoined Stoke City in August 2020. Between 2005 and 2019, he made 88 appearances for Nigeria, scoring six goals; he won the AFCON with Nigeria.
- Jay Jay Okocha
Jay Jay Okocha is perhaps the best African player ever. He was a member of the Sperguilas team that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and three FIFA World CupsTM between 1994 and 2002. He made 75 appearances for his country, scoring 14 goals. Ronaldinho Gaucho, one of Brazil’s best trick bags, was his understudy at Paris Saint-Germain. In 530 appearances for both club and country, Okocha scored 99 goals. Most of his goals are legendary, as is his incredible ball control.
- Sunday Oliseh
Oliseh was a physically and technically adept defensive midfielder who played for AFC Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, and Juventus. Oliseh played 63 international appearances for Nigeria, scoring three goals. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and African Footballer of the Year 1998. He is most known for scoring the winning goal in Nigeria’s 3–2 victory over Spain in the 1998 World Cup group stage. Fernando Hierro cleared a deep throw-in in the Spanish half, Oliseh raced and blasted a powerful 25-yard shot that caught Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta off guard.
- Segun Adegbami
Odegbami had 46 capital appearances and scored 23 goals for Nigeria, helping them win their first Africa Cup of Nations title in 1980. Mathematical was known for his dribbling prowess and the accuracy of his right wing crosses. From 1970 to 1984, he played with IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan. In the 1984 African Champions Cup final, Zamalek of Egypt defeated him. The moniker “Mathematical” came from Segun Odegbami’s studies at Nigeria’s best technical university, The Polytechnic, Ibadan.
- Finidi George
Finidi George was the first Nigerian to be nominated for a Ballon d’Or. During his stint at Ajax, he was nominated in 1995. He received 6 votes, placing him 21st behind AC Milan’s Franco Baresi. George Weah of PSG, a Liberian player, won the Ballon d’Or that year. Ajax won the UEFA Champions League, Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, and Eredivisie that year with Finidi George. He had won the AFCON with the national squad the year before. He’s one of Nigeria’s best midfielders and wingers of all time.
- Emmanuel Amunike
Emmanuel Amuneke is one of the few Nigerians who have played in La Liga’s top two divisions, having joined Barcelona in 1996 from Sporting Lisbon. In the mid-90s, Amuneke deservedly ranked among Africa’s best players and among the world’s best winger. He scored twice against Zambia in the final to help Nigeria win the African Cup of Nations in 1994, and it’s hard to think of a more important Super Eagles player in a trophy win. The winger then had a great World Cup, scoring in Nigeria’s 3-0 thrashing of Bulgaria.
- Muda Lawal
In continental history, Muda Lawal is the only player to have appeared in five straight Nations Cup finals, from 1976 to 1984. Lawal led Nigeria to its first African Nations Cup victory in 1980. The same year, they competed in the Summer Olympics. Lawal’s last international encounter was on August 18, 1985, when Nigeria lost to Zambia in an AFCON qualifier.
- Etim Esin
Etim had a successful career in Europe with Genk and was soon called up to the Super Eagles. He made his senior debut against Gabon in a 1990 World Cup qualifying match. In 1990, he scored his first goal against Zimbabwe in Ibadan, six months after assisting Wole Odegbami’s solitary goal. He was instrumental in the Super Eagles’ unsuccessful World Cup qualification bid in 1990. He last played against Ghana in April 1991 in Lagos for the AFCON qualifying series.
- Henry Nwosu
Nwosu played for New Nigeria Bank in Benin City and African Continental Bank in Lagos. He played for Racing FC Bafoussam, Cameroon and Asec Mimosas FC, Ivory Coast too. Nwosu was a skilled midfielder who was the youngest member of Nigeria’s winning 1980 African Nations Cup team and scored the only goal for the country at the 1980 Olympics. He also played in 1982, 1984, and 1988, being runner-up in all. He last played for Nigeria in 1991.