The Ten Most Influential Super Eagles Players From 2008 To 2018

Published: January 18, 2019
The Ten Most Influential Super Eagles Players From 2008 To 2018One of the most trending topics on the social media these days is the #10YearChallenge which have seen Nigerians reflect on how their journey in life have been between 2008 and 2018.

We have seen images and heard of the exploits of Nigerians but which ten Super Eagles team players have been most influential within this period.

Izuchukwu Okosi attempts to answer this interesting question.

1. John Mikel Obi

The Super Eagles captain is the only member of the 2008 Eagles squad that played at that year's AFCON in Ghana where the Eagles were eliminated by the hosts in the quarterfinals stage that is still active in the game.

Mikel was was also in the 2010 and 2013 Eagles squads with the team winning the latter in South Africa and saw him making the team of the tournament with two other Eagles stars.

Mikel has been an inspirational leader in the squad ever since and his experience will be crucial in how the team performed this summer in Egypt.

2. Joseph Yobo

Former Super Eagles captain Joseph Yobo was part of the team to the 2010 and 2013 AFCONS albeit he had limited time in the title winning feat of 2013.

 Of course he was key in qualifying for these tournaments as well as the 2010 and 2014 World Cups in South Africa and Brazil.   

3. Emmanuel Emenike

Emmanuel Emenike was one of the mainstays of the Eagles side that conquered Africa at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa.

The former Olympiakos, Fenerbahce and West Ham United striker was one of the three standout players in the Nigerian side at that year's AFCON with Mikel Obi and Vincent Enyeama which duly saw them make the tournament's Best XI.

4. Vincent Enyeama

Former Super Eagles goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama may have retired from the national team in acrimonious circumstances when former international Sunday Oliseh was the head coach but whilst he was the undisputed number one for Nigeria, Enyeama was fantastic.

 Enyeama is the most capped Nigerian international with 101 caps and was influential in all the tournaments in which he played in.

Highlights of his career within the time frame under review include the 2013 AFCON final against Burkina Faso as Nigeria defeated the Stallions 1-0 to lift a third time title. He was also splendid when the Eagles played against Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

5. Sunday Mba

Former Nigeria international Sunday Mba shone like a comet at the 2013 AFCON in South Africa and his goal won the tournament in the final against Burkina Faso.

However the onetime U-17 star under coach Godwin Izilien has had his career nosedive as issues concerning his move from Nigeria to the French Ligue 2 caused differences between NPFL sides Enugu Rangers and Warri Wolves.

On the basis of his performances in 2013 and the significance of his goal in the final, the skillful attacking midfielder makes our top ten most influential Super Eagles players in the last ten years.

6. Ikechukwu Uche

The younger of the Uche brothers, Ikechukwu was one of Africa's most promising players during his playing days for Nigeria. His brother, Kalu, was also a great player. They didn't however play in the same tournament which was regrettable.

The former Villarreal forward was in Nigeria's team to the 2008 AFCON in Ghana but unfortunately he did not play at the 2010 World Cup due to injury which he played a crucial role during the qualifiers where he netted seven goals in total, in the second and third round stages.

7. Ahmed Musa

Ahmed Musa was the star player in Nigeria's U-20 World Cup campaign in Colombia 2011 few months after helping Nigeria win the 2010 WAFU Cup held in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

The onetime record top scorer in the Nigeria Professional Football League was in the Super Eagles team that lifted the 2013 AFCON.

Musa scored twice in Nigeria's 3-2 defeat to Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, and also scored a brace four years later as the Eagles defeated Iceland 2-0 at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

8. Osaze Odemwingie

Former West Brom striker Osaze Odemwingie may have been a controversial player but he was a great servant to the national team.

The Uzbek born star was an over aged player at the 2008 Olympics, played for the Eagles at the 2010 AFCON and made the team's Best XI team.

Nigeria had never won a senior FIFA World Cup match since France 98 but Odemwingie's solitary strike against Bosnia and Herzegovina on  21 June 2014 at that year's World Cup in Brazil ensured Stephen Keshi's team ended the run.

9. Victor Obinna Nsofor

The onetime Chievo Verona and Inter Milan striker was arguably Nigeria's best player during qualifiers to the football event of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

At the Games proper, the forward scored three goals against Japan, USA (group games) and Cote d' Ivoire ( also assisted Osaze Odemwingie's goal in the quarterfinals match which Nigeria won 2-0).

His performances helped Nigeria win silver in the football event of the Olympics in 2008, reaching the final before they were defeated by Argentina no thanks to an Angel Di Maria chipped goal.

Nsofor scored five goals in the qualifiers to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but sadly was not part of the World Cup squad due to his injury.

10. Alex Iwobi      

The Arsenal winger scored Nigeria's winning goal en route Russia 2018 World Cup during the qualifiers against Zambia.

The twinkle toed forward who is also adept at playing in the attacking midfield position seems the natural heir to his uncle, Austin Jay Jay Okocha in the playmaking role of the Super Eagles.

There is more to come from this star whose father, Chuka Iwobi, was also a footballer fondly called 'Mehala' in Onitsha and Enugu in his playing days while at Vasco Da Gama FC.

Izuchukwu Okosi

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