Over the years Nigeria has produced Footballers who have grown to become the country’s Greatest Of All Time (G.O.A.T) not just in football but generally in sport.
As one of the sports ‘talent factory’ in the world and the most populous black nation on earth, Nigeria has birthed sport icons who have become role models to a lot of people, as a result of their achievements while representing the country in national and club assignments.
Football is regarded as one of the most followed sports in Nigeria, due to its unifying factors.
Nigerians are passionate football lovers, they love the round lethal game religiously, hence a successful footballer is treated with respect and rated high in the society.
Some of these footballers who have achieved a lot for themselves and the country have retired from active football, while some have became coaches and managed different age grade national teams.
Four Nigeria players have won the prestigious CAF African Footballer of the year award before now.
Former Arsenal player, Kanu Nwankwo was crowned twice in 1996 and 1993, while Nigeria’s ‘Goalsfather’ Rasheed Yekini, Emmanuel Amuneke and Victor Ikpeba won the award once.
The above mentioned ex-international can be said to be Nigeria’s G.O.A.T, with other exceptional players who for obvious reason couldn’t win the Africa most decorated award, but their contribution to their team has given them some level of recognition.
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Daniel Amokachi, late Stephen Keshi, Taribo West, Uche Okechukwu, Sunday Oliseh, John Mikel Obi, Joseph Yobo and Vincent Enyeama. These players may not have won any CAF award, but they are rated as top players Nigeria has ever produced. It will be unfair to exclude them from the list of Nigeria Greatest Of All Time.
Two out of the players ranked as Nigeria Football legends; Vincent Enyeama and Joseph Yobo, made the 100th game mark after 13 years of solid performance for the Super Eagles, with unforgettable moments before their retirement and won major trophies for the team as well.
Current Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa who made his first appearance for Nigeria against Madagascar, in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on September 5, 2010, as a 75th minute substitute for Mikel Obi, has distinguished himself amongst his teammates, after he became Nigeria’s most-capped player, with 101 caps according to FIFA.
Having been to the World Cup twice, under the tutelage of Keshi and with Gernot Rohr, Musa who became the first Nigerian to score more than one goal in two consecutive FIFA World Cup tournaments, after netting a brace against Argentina, in 2014 and against Iceland in the group stage of the Russia 2018 World Cup, Musa could be regarded as one of Nigeria’s football Great.
A lot of people are of the opinion that, Ahmed Musa has done enough within the space of 11 years, since he made his debut for the Nigerian senior national team, to be ranked as amongst Nigeria football ‘Greatest Of All Time,’ while others believed he has to do more to earn the G.O.A.T status.
Olawale Quadry is a Mass Communication graduate, creative writer and pundit with eight years of experience and deep knowledge of Nigerian sports. He has previously written for SL10, South Africa, TribaI Football and Opera News. Follow him on Twitter @QualityQuadry
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