Just like other sports, Football also has its rankings, and some Nigerian footballers can be ranked as the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all time.
It is no news that Nigerians love football and hold footballers in high esteem, both at home and abroad. The same love and excitement are shown towards football award shows and rankings.
Notable Nigerian footballers have attained success at both international and club level, racking up several trophies and individual awards. We would be taking a look at the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all time.
To create our list, we would be considering all Nigerian footballers, including those who might have retired. We have measured the ranking of these footballers using the number of trophies, major club titles and individual awards won during their football career.
Most Decorated Nigerian Footballers of All Time
Here are some of the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all time, ranked from top to bottom:
1. Nwankwo Kanu
We must have all heard about the football legend Nwankwo Kanu, so it’s no surprise he comes first on our list of the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all times.
Nwankwo Kanu remains the most decorated Nigerian footballer of all times winning a total of 14 major trophies in his club and country.
Born in 1976, Kanu began his football career 1990, playing for national football club ‘Iwuanyanwu National’, based in Enugu State, Nigeria. After dazzling at the Japan U-17 World Championships in 1993, the Dutch Eredivisie club, AFC Ajax signed him on.
At Ajax, he won top-flight competitions with the team, establishing an excellent reputation for himself. Kanu played for other European clubs including Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Brom and Portsmouth. At the national team level, Kanu was a significant part of the Nigerian Super Eagles dream team contingent at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. His outstanding performance at the tournament earned him the ‘African Footballer of the Year’ award in 1996.
Kanu made a total of 87 appearances for Nigeria, winning a silver medal with the team at the 2000 African Cup of Nations in Ghana. He retired from football after a long and illustrious career in 2012.
Kanu Nwankwo Significant Football Titles and Individual Awards
- Ajax: Eredivisie winner 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, UEFA Champions League winner 1995, UEFA Super Cup winner 1995, Intercontinental Cup winner 1995
- Inter Milan: UEFA Cup winner 1998
- Arsenal: Premier League winner 2001–02, 2003–04, FA Cup winner 2002, 2003, FA Community Shield winner: 1999
- Portsmouth: FA Cup winner 2008
- Nigeria: Olympic Gold Medal 1996, 2000 African Cup of Nations Runners-up (Bronze).
- Individual Honors:
- African Footballer of the Year 1996, 1999, BBC African Footballer of the Year 1997, 1999
2. John Mikel Obi
Mikel Obi is next on our list of the most decorated footballers of all time. He has won a total of 10 trophies for both clubs and the national team.
Mikel began his career professionally playing for a domestic club side, Plateau United, Nigeria. In 2007, he joined Norwegian club Lyn at the age of 17. In 2005, Mikel played for Nigeria at the FIFA World Youth Championships held in the Netherlands.
At the tournament, he won the Silver Ball. Following his exceptional display at the youth tournament, English club, Chelsea football signed him.
At Chelsea, his career was a successful one winning several trophies throughout his time with the club including the prestigious UEFA Champion league in 2012. Mikel at the national level was a vital member of the Nigerian Super Eagles senior team. He was a member of the Nigerian squad that won the African Cup of Nations in 2013. He captained the Nigerian senior team from 2015 until 2019 following his retirement from international football. Mikel played for other clubs after leaving Chelsea in 2017 including; Tianjin TEDA, Hull City, Middlesbrough and Trabzonspor.
John Mikel Obi Significant Football Titles and Individual Awards
- Chelsea: English Premier League: 2009/2010, 2014/2015, English FA Cup Winner: 2006/2007, 2008/2009, 2011/2012, UEFA Champions League Winner 2011/2012, English League Cup Winner 2006/2007, UEFA Europa League winner 2012/2013, FA Community Shield 2012/2013
- Nigeria: Africa Cup of Nations winner 2013, Olympic Bronze Winner 2016 Rio Olympics Men’s Soccer
- Individual Awards:
- FIFA World Youth Championship Silver Ball 2005, African Young Player of the Year 2005, 2006, Chelsea Young Player of the Year 2007,2008
3. Finidi George
Unarguably one of the most excellent right wings forwards to grace the world of football, Finidi George is next on our list. Born in 1971, Finidi George had an outstanding football career. He won a total of nine major trophies with both club and the Nigerian national football team making him one of the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all time.
Finidi was a leading figure at Ajax football team winning eight major titles, including the 1995 Uefa Champions League with the club. At the national team level, Finidi George was a vital member of the Nigerian Super Eagles senior football team participating in top-flight tournaments with the team. He played for Nigeria from 1990 until 1998, when he retired from football.
Finidi George Significant Football Titles and Individual Awards
- Ajax: Eredivisie Cup 1993/1994, 1994/1995, 1995/1996, Johan Cruijff Shield 1994, 1995, UEFA Champions League 1994/1995, UEFA Super Cup 1995, Intercontinental Cup 1996
- Nigeria: Africa Cup of Nations Winner 1994
4. Daniel Amokachi
Finally on our list of the most decorated Nigerian footballers of all time is Daniel Amokachi.
Daniel Amokachi started his football career professionally playing for Nigerian club side ‘Ranchers Bees’. Subsequently, he played for other European clubs including; Everton, Besiktas and Colorado Rapids. At the national level, Daniel Amokachi was a part of the Nigerian Super Eagles team that won the African Cup of Nations in 1994.
His excellent football form earned him a nomination for the African Footballer of the year Awards thrice in his career. He played for the Nigerian national team from 1993 until 1998, after he retired from international football. Amokachi outstanding football career has earned him regard as one of the greatest Nigerian footballers all the time.
Daniel Amokachi Significant Football Titles and Individual Awards
- Everton: FA Cup 1994/1995, FA Charity Shield 1995
- Beşiktaş: Turkish Cup 1997/1998
- Nigeria: African Cup of Nations Winner 1994 and Olympic Games Gold Medal winner, 1996
- Individual Honors:
- African Footballer of the Year, Third Place 1995,1996, Belgian Ebony Shoes foreign player award 1992, 1994.
In the game of football, remarkable players have always received awards for their impact on the game.
Trophies and individual awards are essential in the career of a footballer. The number of football trophies and individual awards a player receives is usually the metric used to measure the success and greatness of a player.
We have also written on the richest Nigerian footballers right now and you should read that.