Nigeria's best football exports

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Nigeria remains Africa's biggest exporter of footballers in the world.
We take a look at the country's best exports, who accumulated a lot of success abroad.

Finidi George

George is regarded by many as Nigeria's greatest winger of all-time having enjoyed a lot of success in Europe.
The retired midfielder helped Ajax Amsterdam win the 1995 UEFA Champions League title as one of the Dutch giants' key players.
George also clinched three Eredivisie titles, two Johan Cruijff Shield trophies, a UEFA Cup as well as Intercontinental Cup with Ajax.
Some believe that he was the best right-winger in the world when Ajax clinched the Champions League title.

Austin Jay Jay Okocha

Okocha is widely considered to be the greatest Nigerian footballer of all-time due to his technical ability and dribbling skills.
The retired attacking midfielder helped Turkish giants Fenerbahce win the 1998 Prime Minister's Cup and 1999 Atatürk Cup, before moving to Paris Saint-German (PSG).
Success followed Okocha at the French giants as he won the 1998 Trophée des Champions and the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Okocha, who won the 1993 Goal of the Year in Germany during his time with Eintracht Frankfurt. has also captained English side Bolton Wanderers under manager Sam Allardyce.
“Jay Jay Okocha. On and off the field he was the captain you looked for. In a multi-national side from all over the world he could speak four different languages, communicate very well with some of the players who couldn't speak quite as good English," Allardyce said.
“He sorted the odd scuffle out in the dressing room, talked to the players about how we had to go out and win. He'd take the manager's instructions and apply them in the right way.
“Then there was outstanding ability on the field, leading by example and showing everybody he wasn't a mercenary which was suggested in the beginning, that he'd only come for the money. He became an iconic figure at Bolton Wanderers.”

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Daniel Amokachi

Amokachi is one of the best strikers to ever come out of Nigeria having made a huge impact during his 12-year spell abroad.
Nicknamed the Black Bull, Amokachi scored the first goal of the UEFA Champions League with Belgian giants Club Brugge in November 1992, beating CSKA Moscow 1-0.
The Black Bull went on to win the FA Cup with English giants Everton in 1995, scoring two goals in the semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
Amokachi also clinched the Belgian Pro League's 'Most successful foreign player' award in 1992 and the Belgian Ebony Shoes Award in 1992 and 1994.

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Sunday Oliseh

Oliseh remains Nigeria's best defensive midfielder of all-time and was known for his ability to win possession with ease and distribute the ball very well.
The former Nigeria captain played a key role in helping Ajax Amsterdam lift the Dutch Eredivisie title and two KNVB Cups.
Oliseh then left the Dutch giants for Italian football heavyweights Juventus where he clinched the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 1999.
The former Genk player also added the German Bundesliga winner's medal to his trophy cabinet when he helped Borussia Dortmund win the title in 2002.

John Obi Mikel

Mikel is seen by many as the best Nigerian midfielder of his generation having enjoyed some success with Nigeria and Chelsea.
The 32-year-old central midfielder won two English Premier League titles, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League with the Blues.
Mikel also tasted cup success during his 13-year spell with the English giants as he lifted three FA Cups and one EFL Cup.
The former Middlesbrough and Trabzonspor midfielder left the Blues having established himself as a club legend having played 372 matches and scored six goals.

“Mikel is the greatest player,” Amokachi told Brila FM.

“He has won everything that a player can hope to; the Champions League, Europa, Afcon in 2013 and he also captained the national team.

“As a footballer, your laurels count and that will surely count for Mikel because nobody has won that much in Nigerian football.”

Nwankwo Kanu

Kanu remains Nigeria's most decorated export as he lifted trophies in Netherlands, England and Italy during his 20-year spell.
The retired forward was one of Ajax Amsterdam's key players as they clinched the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup in 1995.
Nicknamed Papilo, Kanu also helped Ajax clinch three Dutch Eredivisie titles, before moving to Inter Milan where he won the UEFA Cup with the Italian giants.
Papilo moved to England where he lifted two English Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Arsenal FC.
He retired from professional football in 2012 having clinched the FA Cup with Portsmouth during the 2007/08 season.

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Published: 04/23/2020