Okocha, Kanu, Among 5 of the Best Nigerian Players to Feature in English Premier League

Okocha, Kanu, Among 5 of the Best Nigerian Players to Feature in English Premier League

Babajide Orevba
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:27 PM
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  • Nigerian players lit up the English Premier League with some breathtaking performances
  • Mikel Obi won a number of laurels at Chelsea, also winning the UEFA Champions League
  • Jay Jay Okocha and Yakubu Aiyegbeni also left indelible footprints in the English topflight

The English Premier League is a prime destination for footballers across the world. A number of Nigerian superstars left indelible footprints there.

The ever magical Jay Jay Okocha performed wonders during his time with Bolton Wanderers that he was given the moniker ‘so good they named him twice’.

Kanu Nwankwo was also part of the Arsenal squad famously known as the ‘Invincibles’ having won the league during the 2003/2004 season under manager Arsene Wenger without losing a match.

Here we look at 5 of the best Nigerian players who featured in the EPL:

5. Joseph Yobo (Everton)

Even though he did not win any title with Everton, Joseph Yobo was an important player in the squad and his experience helped the club maintain their Premier League status.

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Joseph Yobo, Super Eagles, Everton, Nigeria
Joseph Yobo is one of Nigeria's best exports to the Premier League. Photo: Neal Simpson
Source: Getty Images

During his time at the club, Everton was a force to reckon with as they also qualified for the Champions League playoff under David Moyes.

The defender was very consistent and during the 2006/2007 season, he played every minute for the Toffees.

Yobo made 196 Premier League appearances for the club and scored eight goals during his time there.

4. Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers, Reading)

Yakubu is one of the most outstanding Nigerians to ever feature in the English top-flight.

Scoring 36 goals in two seasons for Portsmouth makes him the club’s highest goal scorer in the Premier League.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni, Portsmouth, Super Eagles, Premier League
Yakubu celebrates one of his Premier League goals. Photo: Matthew Lewis
Source: Getty Images

He also featured for Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester City, Blackburn Rovers and Reading, amassing over 100 Premier League goals.

3. Mikel Obi (Chelsea)

The defensive midfielder had a successful spell at Chelsea, winning the Premier League on two occasions.

Mikel Obi, Chelsea, Premier League, Nigeria
Mikel Obi was an important player at Chelsea. Photo: IAN KINGTON
Source: Getty Images

Mikel also won three FA Cup titles, one FA Community Shield, one Football League Cup, the UEFA Champions League as well as the Europa League.

He was a very important player in the squad playing 249 matches and scoring one goal during his time there. He remains one of Nigeria’s most-decorated players.

2. Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton, Hull City)

Okocha arrived in England in 2002 from Paris Saint-Germain and took the Premier League by storm, scoring breathtaking goals and showing sensational skills.

Just in his first season at the club, Okocha won Bolton Wanderers’ best Premier League goal. He featured in 124 matches for the club and scored 14 goals.

Jay Jay Okocha, Super Eagles, Bolton, Premier League
Jay Jay Okocha left indelible footprints in the English Premier League. Photo: John Walton
Source: Getty Images

In the twilight of his career, the most-skillful player joined Hull City where he played 18 league matches without a goal.

1. Kanu Nwankwo (Arsenal)

Kanu became a household name in England following the player’s exploits for Arsenal. He came off the bench to score a 15-minute hattrick as the Gunners came from two goals down to defeat Chelsea.

Kanu Nwankwo, Premier League, Arsenal, Nigeria
Kanu Nwankwo won two Premier League titles with Arsenal. Photo: Stu Forster
Source: Getty Images

He was part of the Arsenal squad famously known as the ‘Invincibles’ having won the league during the 2003/2004 season under manager Arsene Wenger.

He is rated 13th in the Gunners’ all-time top 50 best players, a list that has the likes of Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, and Dennis Bergkamp amongst others.

Osimhen set for Serie A title

Sports Brief earlier reported that Nigerian international Victor Osimhen closes in on the Serie A title as Napoli already have one hand on the prestigious Scudetto.

It is the first time in over three decades that the Partenopei will claim the title as they have opened up a 15-point lead over second-placed AC Milan with 13 matches left before the season ends.

Osimhen would not be the first Nigerian to win the Serie A title, as Obafemi Martins was part of the Inter Milan squad that won the title during the 2005/2006 season.

Babajide Orevba photo
Babajide Orevba
Babajide Orevba is a CAF accredited Nigerian journalist and HOD of the Local Desk with over 10 years of experience in media landscape.He studied NCE Political Science/Social Studies, AOCOED.