Many Nigerians, especially the upcoming ones who have interest in football, would love to know who and who are Nigerian Footballers. And for the ones they already know, they’ll love to get more information about them. This article provides such rare opportunities for you to know a lot more about Nigerian players. We’ll walk our way through, from the most popular ones down to the lesser known ones. Enjoy…
1. Mikel Obi
His full name is John Michael Nchekwube Obinna. He was born on 22nd April, 1987. He is popularly known as John Mikel Obi. He is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for the English club Chelsea and the Nigeria National Football Team. He is considered Nigeria’s most popular and richest footballer at the moment. Mikel is yet to be married but we hope to see that happen soon.
2. Stephen Keshi
Stephen Okechukwu Keshi is a Nigerian former football defender and current football manager/coach who managed the Nigeria national team from 2011 until 2014. He was born on 23rd January, 1962. He is one of only two people, along with Egypt’s Mahmoud El-Gohary, to have won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and a coach. He is married with grown up children.
3. Vincent Enyeama
Vincent Enyeama is a Nigerian professional national and international footballer who plays for French club Lille OSC and the Nigerian national team, as a goalkeeper. Since making his debut in 2002 for Nigeria, he has since become the captain and is the second most capped player for the country. The 33-year-old from Akwa Ibom state is married with three lovely kids.
4. Joseph Yobo
Joseph Phillip Yobo is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a centre back. He was the captain of the Nigerian national team until his international football retirement in June 2014, and he is Nigeria’s record appearance holder. Joseph Yobo has also been Nigeria’s most reliable center back since 2002. Joseph Yobo is a gifted marker and sweeper. He has played for clubs in the English premiership as well as in Turkey. He is 35 years old, (born 6 September 1980), and is married to Adaeze Yobo with a son.
5. Obafemi Martins
Obafemi Akinwunmi Martins is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a forward for Seattle Sounders FC and the Nigeria national team. He was born on 28 October, 1984. He is known for his speed on the ball. He is currently dating Mario Balotelli’s sister, Barwuah Abigail, and they have two sons. He is known to have so many girl friends, some of whom he has kids with, and is yet to get married.
6. Yakubu Aiyegbeni
Yakubu Aiyegbeni (born 22 November 1982), popularly known as Yakubu, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Reading and the Nigeria National team. His nickname is “The Yak”. In 2008 Yakubu married Yvonne Lameen Ikhana, the daughter of former Nigerian international football player Kadiri Ikhana, who is also the father-in-law to former Nigerian international football player Patrick Ovie. They have two daughters.
7. Peter Osaze
Peter Osaze Odemwingie is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Stoke City. Odemwingie is of a mixed descent – a Nigerian father and a Russian mother. He grew up in Russia but hails from Edo, Nigeria. He was born 15 July 1981. He began his career with Bendel Insurance in the Nigeria Premier League. He has played for several clubs. Peter Osaze is married to Sarrah Fallon, with two sons.
8. Ikechukwu Uche
Ikechukwu Uche, always spotted for his acrobatic goal celebrations, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Villarreal CF as a striker. Born in Aba, Abia state, Uche’s career began in his country with Amanze United and Iwuanyanwu Nationale. Aged just 18, he moved to Racing de Ferrol in the Spanish second division, appearing in 24 games in his second season, which ended in relegation for the Galician team. He spent most of his professional career in Spain, having arrived in the country before the age of 20. He was born 5th January 1984.
9. John Chukwudi Utaka
John Chukwudi Utaka (born 8 January 1982 in Enugu) is a Nigerian footballer who currently plays as a striker for Turkish side Sivasspor of the Süper Lig. He is the older brother of Peter Utaka, who plays for Beijing Guoan in China. Utaka has played at two World Cups and three Africa Cup of Nations for Nigeria since his debut in 2002. Utaka played for Nigeria until his retirement in 2014.
10. Emmanuel Emenike
Emmanuel Chineye Emenike (born 10 May 1987) is a Nigerian international footballer who plays as a striker for Turkish team Fenerbahçe. In January 2014, Globacom named Emenike as their new brand ambassador. Emenike hails from Anambra state in Nigeria. He is known to have high stats in pace and strength, and this explains why he was regarded as a very sweaty player in the EA Sports video game FIFA 15.
11. Ahmed Musa
Ahmed Musa (born 14 October 1992) is a Nigerian footballer who plays as forward for Russian club CSKA Moscow and the Nigeria national team. He is known for his pace, dribbling, composure, versatility and defensive effort. He has been compared to Jesus Navas and Arjen Robben for his pace and his ability to cut inside and cause havoc, he is a good creator as well as corner specialist. Musa is the first Nigerian to score more than once in a FIFA World Cup match after scoring twice against Argentina in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
12. Taye Taiwo
Taye Ismaila Taiwo is a professional Nigerian footballer who currently plays as a defender for Süper Lig side Bursaspor. He is a member of the Nigeria National team, Super Eagles. Born on 16th April, 1985(30 years), in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, Taiwo joined Marseille at 19 and made his Ligue 1 debut at home to RC Lens (2-1) on 12th March, 2005. Other clubs he has played for include: Gabros IFC, Lobi Stars FC, Olympique de Marseille. He is married to Nimot Taiwo and they are blessed with two children, Ahliy and Azeem.
13. Victor Moses
Victor Moses (born 12 December 1990) is a professional footballer who plays for Stoke City on loan from Chelsea. He can play in a variety of positions, primarily as a winger, but also as a forward. Moses was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on 12th December, 1990. He began his career in the Championship with Crystal Palace, before his performances caught the eye of Wigan Athletic, where he made his Premier League debut in 2010. Moses decided to play for Nigeria as against being fully employed by England, though he still represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels. He made his debut for Nigeria in 2012, and since then, he has gained over 20 caps for the country. He lost his parents in the Lagos riots at the age of 11.
14. Victor Obinna
Victor Nsofor Obinna is a Nigerian footballer who plays as a second striker for FC Lokomotiv Moscow of the Russian Premier League. He is not currently registered to play with the league office. He is 28 years old. When he started his career, he first played for Plateau United. He broke into the international scene when he was invited to the Nigeria’s U-20 Flying Eagles that won Gold in Benin in the African Youth Tournament in 2005 and was later called up to the senior squad at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, scoring once before Nigeria’s semifinal elimination. He was named amongst Nigeria’s squad for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and he scored Nigeria’s first goal in a 2–1 win against Japan and the team’s winning goal in the final group match against the United States to ensure that Nigeria qualified for the quarter-finals. The team finally lost to Argentina in the final.
15. Bright Dike
Chinedu Bright Dike is a current Nigerian footballer who plays for San Antonio Scorpions on loan from Toronto FC and the Nigerian national team. Dike is eligible to represent Nigeria internationally through his parents who are natives of Nigeria. He is cousin to Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Emenike. Bright was born in Edmond, Oklahoma, USA, on the 2nd of February, 1987. Bright Dike has a sister, Courtney Dike who is also a female soccer player, that played for the Nigeria women’s national under-20 football team the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. He has sustained serious injuries, (ruptured Achilles Tendon) twice since he started his football career.
16. Kalu Uche
Kalu Uche is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Levante UD as a forward or an attacking midfielder. Born in an Aba, Abia state, Uche’s career began in Nigeria with Enyimba International F.C.and Iwuanyanwu Nationale. A Nigerian international in the 2000’s, Uche represented his country at the 2010 World Cup. He spent most of his professional career in Spain, mainly with Almería, with which he amassed La Liga totals of 117 games and 27 goals. He was born on born 15 November 1982. He is married to Stephanie Oforka, and they have a baby girl.