Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa. Apart from that, they have made tremendous strides when it comes to sports. They have some of the most famous sports teams in Africa such as the Super Eagles. The men’s national team was one of the few countries who represented Africa in the World Cup.
So, who are some of the best Nigerian sportspersons who have changed how Nigerians view sport? Here is a look.
#1. Teslim ‘Thunder’ Balogun (Football)
Teslim is perhaps the most successful football player in Nigeria. Tales about him have been spread in the country since the 1940s. Rumors say that his stride was so loud that it once cut open the stomach of a goalkeeper. Balogun went to be the first Nigerian to score a hat trick.
#2. Nwankwo Kanu (Football)
Kanu is one of the most football players in Nigeria. He has won many African and international champions such as the UEFA EPL, the UEFA Champions League, Dutch title, FA Cup and the Nigerian League. During his time at Arsenal, he was voted as the 13th highest player of all time at the club.
#3. Hogan ‘Kid’ Bassey (Boxer)
Okon Asuquo Bassey was the first Nigerian to become World Champion. He defeated French-Algerian Cherif Hamia in 1957. The fight was held in Paris.
#4. Stephen Keshi (Football)
There are only a few African football players who have influenced Keshi. He won various titles across the continent such as the WAFU Cup. He led the Eagles to the 2013 AFCON cup which they won.
#5. Austin Okocha (Football)
Okocha had a good career in football because he not only played for Nigeria but other international teams such as Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, and PSG. He helped Nigeria win the Olympics Gold in 1996.
#6. Dick Tiger (Boxing)
Richard Ihetu was the middle heavyweight champion in the 1950s. He also went ahead to win the world lightweight championship in the 1960s.
#7. Mercy Akide (Football)
The Super Falcons have never had a goalscoring heroine such as Mercy Akide. After winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, she became the first African woman to get a football scholarship to the US.
#8. Enefiok Udo-obong (Athletics)
During the Olympics 2000, which was held in Sidney Enefiok was a sensation. He won silver for his country in the 4×400m sprint.
#9. Chioma Ajunwa (Multi-Sport)
Chioma is the first Nigerian to win the Olympic gold. She won gold in the 1996 Olympics in the 100m sprint. However, Chioma had briefly played for the Super Eagles before she became an athlete.
#10. Innocent Egbunike (Athletics)
Innocent won gold in the 200m 1983 Summer Universiade Games. He also won the All African Games in 1987 which were held in Kenya. It marked the helm of his career.