What do you know about the Nigeria's national soccer team? Governed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), they are also called the Super Eagles, and have qualified for six of the last seven FIFA World Cups. Besides learning a little more about the history of this national team, we will also have a look at who the top scorers in the country's history are.
In October 1949, Nigeria played their first official game while still a British colony, after playing other colonies in unofficial games since the 1930s. The Nigeria national team primarily wear green jerseys.
They are three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, with their most recent title in 2013. The Super Eagles were ranked 5th in the FIFA rankings in April 1994, the highest FIFA ranking position an African soccer team has ever achieved.
20. Emmanuel Emenike – 8 goals
Emmanuel Emenike scored his first goal for Nigeria on June 1, 2011, in a friendly against Argentina. He scored his final international goal on October 13, 2013, vs Ethiopia at the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification.
The striker retired from international duty in October 2015 with 8 goals in total. The 33-year-old’s most recent club was Belgian club Westerlo in 2019.
19. Sunday Oyarekhua – 8 goals
Sunday Oyarekhua, a former policeman, was noticed by the coaches of the national team while playing for the Police F.C. of Lagos. He scored in a friendly match against the Upper Volta in 1971 on his debut.
He was the top scorer on the 1973 All-Africa Games winning team in Nigeria. He played 28 times for Nigeria, scoring 8 goals.
18. Mohammed Lawal – 8 goals
Mohammed Lawal also scored 8 goals for the Nigeria national soccer team. He scored his first goal for his country on September 21, 1969, and the last one on Mar 18, 1984.
At the 1968 Summer Olympics, he competed in the men's tournament. Lawal used to play as a left-back before retiring in 1983. He is currently 81 years old.
17. Emmanuel Amunike – 9 goals
Amunike made his Nigeria debut in 1993, and he scored his first goal on 23 April. He appeared for Nigeria 27 times, scoring nine goals.
Additionally, at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Amunike played all the matches, scoring the winning goal in the final as the national team won the gold medal. His final goal was on June 7, 1997.
16. Kelechi Iheanacho – 9 goals
Iheanacho has represented Nigeria from under-13 onwards at youth levels. In a FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying match against eSwatini, Iheanacho made his senior debut as a replacement.
The 24-year-old forward netted his first international goal on May 27, 2016, while his latest came on October 13, 2020. He is currently playing for Leicester City in the Premier League.
15. Peter Odemwingie – 10 goals
Odemwingie could have played for Uzbekistan and Russia, but opted for the country of his father. His first goal came on 21 June 2003, at the 2004 Nations cup qualifying match against Angola.
The Uzbekistan-born forward netted his last international goal exactly 13 years later, and he retired from representing his country shortly after in 2014. With Madura United being his final club, he hung up his boots in 2019.
14. Victor Obinna – 11 goals
Obinna was a part of the U-20 Flying Eagles who won gold at the 2005 African Youth Tournament in Benin. He was registered in the Nigerian senior squad at the 2006 African Cup of Nations.
The ex-striker stopped representing his country in 2014, a year after he scored his final international goal on November 16, 2013. He retired in 2018, after spending the season at Cape Town City.
13. Ikechukwu Uche – 12 goals
In 2007, Uche made his debut for Nigeria, and he scored his first goal on September 8. He was part of the team that played in Ghana's 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
On November 15, 2014, was when Uche scored his final Nigeria goal. He retired from international duty soon after. The 36-year-old’s latest club was Segunda Division’s Gimnastic.
12. Nwankwo Kanu – 12 goals
From 1994 until 2010, Kanu was a member of the Nigerian national team, making his friendly debut against Sweden. He wore the number 4 jersey for Nigeria even though he played as a striker.
The first time Kanu wrote his name on the scoresheet for his country was on October 21, 1995, and the last time was on June 16, 2007. He retired from soccer in 2012, with Portsmouth.
11. Victor Moses – 12 goals
Victor Moses featured for four of England’s youth teams from 2005 to 2010. In 2012, he changed his alliances to the Nigeria senior national team. It took him several months to score his first goal for the Super Eagles, on October 13, 2012.
He announced his international retirement after the 2018 World Cup in Russia. At the moment, the 29-year-old is playing for Spartak Moscow on loan from Chelsea.
10. Daniel Amokachi – 13 goals
Amokachi appeared for Nigeria on 44 occasions, and in several international tournaments. He was part of the squad that took part in the 1994 FIFA World Cup and the 1998 FIFA World Cup and won the 1994 African Nations Cup.
On August 18, 1990, the former forward scores his first goal for Nigeria. His latest one came on April 5, 1997. Two years later, he opted not to feature in international games. In 2005, Amokachi retired from soccer.
9. Jay-Jay Okocha – 14 goals
In their 2-1 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier loss to Ivory Coast in May 1993, Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria. It didn’t take much for him to become a favorite amongst the Nigeria fans.
They saw Okocha net for the first time on June 11, 1995, and his final goal was 10 years later, on 18 June 2005. The following year, he retired from international duty, and in 2008, he hung up his boots for good.
8. Samson Siasia – 14 goals
Siasia played 51 international games for Nigeria, scoring 14 times. He was part of the squad that played at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and won the African Nations Cup in 1994.
The former striker contributed with his first goal on July 4, 1987. He scored his final one on February 22, 1998. He announced his international retirement the following year, and in 2000, he gave up on playing soccer.
7. Julius Aghahowa – 14 goals
Aghahowa played 32 games and scored 13 national team goals, including their only goal against Sweden in the 2002 World Cup. At the 2002 African Nations Cup, he became Nigeria's leading goalscorer.
His first goal for Nigeria came on February 3, 2000, and his final one was scored on March 26, 2005. Two years later, he gave up playing for the national team, and in 2011, he officially retired from soccer.
6. Ahmed Musa – 15 goals
Musa made his debut for the Nigerian senior team in a qualifying match for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations against Madagascar on August 5, 2010, at the age of just 17. Two years later, on June 16, he managed his first goal.
So far, the forward has made 95 total senior team appearances and scored 15 goals in total. His latest club was Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr.
5. Odion Ighalo – 16 goals
Ighalo made his national team debut at the age of 26 after impressing in the Premier League in 2015. Later that year, on October 11, Ighalo netted his first Nigeria goal ever.
His final one came on July 17, 2019, at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria ended up in third place, but once the tournament ended, he retired from international games. Ighalo is part of Manchester United, on loan from Shanghai Shenhua.
4. Obafemi Martins – 18 goals
At the age of 19, Martins made his debut for Nigeria in 2004, scoring the second goal in the 2004 Unity Cup. Thanks to several controversial episodes such as wrongfully written year of birth and missing out on a game, his career with the national team was often in doubt.
However, he lasted until 2015 with the Super Eagles, scoring a total of 18 goals. The 36-year-old forward is playing for Wuhan Zall at the moment.
3. Yakubu – 22 goals
Since his debut at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia, Yakubu has scored 21 goals in his 57 appearances for Nigeria. He was 19 years of age at the moment of his international debut.
He went on to feature at two FIFA World Cups, and two African Cup of Nations, before retiring internationally in 2012. After spending one season at Coventry City, he announced his decision to say ‘goodbye’ to soccer in 2017.
2. Segun Odegbami – 23 goals
Odegbami made 46 appearances and scored 23 goals for the national team of Nigeria, whom he led to the 1980 tournament to their first Africa Cup of Nations title. He debuted in 1976, at the age of 24.
The Lagos-born forward spent five years wearing the Super Eagles jersey. He retired from soccer in 1984, after having spent 14 years with Shooting Stars.
1. Rashidi Yekini – 37 goals
Yekini is the Nigeria national record goalscorer, scoring 37 times in a total of 58 appearances. He debuted for Nigeria in 1984, and scored his first goal a year later, on 6 April.
His final goal came on February 22, 1998, and the former striker subsequently retired from playing international games. Yekini hung up his boots in 2005, with Gateway. On May 4, 2012, he died, aged 48.