The Best Nigerian Football Players Who Competed In The Premier League
Football has to be the most popular sport in Nigeria. It is a sport that is played not just professionally but also for fun in the country. This is why it’s no surprise that Nigeria has one of the best national teams in Africa and has produced prominent names in the football world. Many Nigerians are currently doing well in the international scene as well like the English Premier League.
Nigerian fans are surely proud of the players representing their country. Many would root for their favorites by not just following their careers but also placing wagers on betting sites in Nigeria. With that, many are curious to know which players have some of the best EPL performances of all time.
Look no further because we’re listing some of the top Nigerian footballers that have graced the EPL stage over the years.
Kanu “Papillo” Nwankwo
Kanu Nwankwo is also known as Papillo was able to participate in a total of matches with 74 goals during his entire career. He appeared at the Premier League 273 times. He was able to score 54 goals and 29 assists in the league.
Papillo started with a Nigerian football team which was the IwuanyanwuNationale in 1992. In 1993, he then joined the Amsterdamsche Football club or Ajax where he got to play at the UEFA Champions League. Three years later, he then joined Inter Milan which was a rough time for his career because this was when he was diagnosed with a heart condition. Doctors thought it would be the end of Papillo’s career but he was able to go through a successful aortic valve surgery.
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He stayed with Inter Milan until 1999 when he was signed by Arsenal. Because of this, he was able to play in more prestigious leagues including the FA Cup and the EPL. He stayed with Arsenal for a good while until he moved on to West Bromwich Albion in 2004. In 2006, he then played for Portsmouth.
His stay with Portsmouth was quite controversial because of financial issues. He ended up suing Portsmouth for unpaid wages worth £3 million before he left the club. However, in 2013, Papillo said that he decided to drop the case.
John Mikel Obi
Mikel Obi was born in Jos Nigera in 1987. His first-ever football club during his youth is Plateau United where he played from 2002 to 2004. His very first team during his senior career was Lyn where he played until 2006. Chelsea signed him after that where he got to play in the Premier League. He stayed with the club until 2017.
He debuted in the EPL as a sub and was able to score his first goal. The midfielder was able to appear in 249 Premier League matches and scored 1 goal and 10 assists. He was able to win a Premier League title, four FA Cups, 1 League Cup, and 1 Champions League medal when he was with Chelsea.
While his career flourished with Chelsea, it was announced in 2017 that his contract will no longer be renewed. After Chelsea, Obi went on to play for teams like Tianjin TEDA, Middlesbrough, Trabzonspor, Stoke City, and Kuwait SC. He retired from international football in 2019 when Nigeria placed third at the AFCON.
Leicester City’s midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi is now one of the great Nigerian players today. So far, he’s appeared 159 times at the Premier League and scored 7 goals and 9 assists. In total, his current standing is at 70 wins and 56 losses.
Ndidi is from Lagos Nigeria and during his youth career which started in 2002, he was able to be part of the Eksodin Stars FC. In 2012, he became a part of the Nath Boys Academy. When 2015 came, Belgian football club KRC Genk signed him for two years. After this short stay, he then went to play for Leicester City which is still his club today.
He debuted on the club in January 2017 when the team went against Everton. In the same month, he also made his first appearance at the EPL where the team faced Chelsea with a 3-0 defeat. Last year, Ndidi suffered multiple injuries like a tear in the abductor muscle and thigh muscle strain.
Despite this, Leicester still kept his pace at the top. He, unfortunately, missed important and memorable matches like the draw at Crytal Palace and win against Manchester United. Still, Ndidi is one of the best midfielders today.